Tag Archives: crockpot

Crockpot Chicken bacon ranch pasta and the joy of the little things 

Well…The holidays are over now and we have to find a way to go on. Sigh. I love the holidays. The anticipation of it all is what makes me the happiest. Must be the Catholic in me. I love the whole build up of Advent, the build up to the big event and even afterward as we wait for the epiphany. So after it is all said and done…I feel a little let down. Yes, I know that what was supposed to happen has happened. But it’s a little like “blah. Now what?” My sweet Madame toot (9 years old) said it perfectly on Christmas night. “Christmas is over. How can I go on?” I about died laughing because I could so understand how she felt. So now the kids are back in school and life is back to “normal” (lol! As if!) and it’s all about establishing routine. Getting back into our groove. But still…in the humdrum, cold and wet weather, a mama needs a little something to look forward to. A little treat here and there. But after the buffet of gifts and food and indulgence at Christmas…who has money for that? We are all looking to make resolutions, cut corners, get stuff in order, organize…and the list goes on. Well here comes me. And my gang of pals who always know which direction to point me in. I met a new friend recently…well she is married to an old friend and we finally “met.” She is hilarious and apparently knows good things when she sees them. She did marry Wade  after all.   

  
Yes this. She was so dead on. Posting a picture on Facebook with a thumbs up sign. Yes Connie. So much yes. I know, I know…this is instant cappuccino. To that I say, maybe…but this is a treat! It’s not expensive and it’s a small what my mom would call…happy. Let’s face it ya’ll…finding little things to break the monotony, help us survive the crazy, brighten up the middle…well those are things to hold on to. A Starbucks coffee a day habit is not in my budget lately. But this…this I can do. On the same note, while at Walmart picking up a report cover for my daughter’s science fair project and my Hills Brothers cappuccino in a tub… I found some super cute Henley’s in a bunch of fun bright colors. Guess what?! These super sassy, won’t break the bank, 3/4 length and feel great on tops,  look as cute with yoga pants as they do with jeans or dress pant. Can you say score?! It is truly the little things. 

So to get on with the story that is leading to a recipe…I promise. On my mind as I entered Wally World today was what am I gonna make for supper? You know that question. Yesterday I saw this on Facebook and since then I have had bacon on the brain. It made me giggle and want bacon. BACON!!!! 

  
 This is what I googled…creamy bacon chicken in the crockpot. And this recipe popped up…http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/slow-cooker-bacon-ranch-chicken-and-pasta/997c0a46-b7d8-481e-8919-5f563b1dde66.  I wanted to try it a while back and well…who knows why but I never did make it. But today it is happening. As I wait in carpool to pick up my oldest from middle school before heading to the other school to fetch the other 3…it is cooking away in my little crockpot. Or big red as she has been dubbed. She has a timer and is set for greatness. Chicken bacon ranch pasta. Happening tonight. Making something indulgent for supper that I did not have to slave over is definitely on my list of little things that make a big HAPPY difference in my life. 

So to sum it up…things that make me happy…instant cappuccino, colorful versatile shirts, and a good easy creamy pasta recipe. Throw in my soft cozy flannel dachshund sheets on my head and a nice cold snap and this chick is HAPPY! This pasta dish made me oh so happy!!! It is absolutely fantastic. The flavor is simply divine. It is super indulgent, yes. But after all the delicious rich foods we indulged in during Christmas, we cannot send our bodies into shock. A little indulgence here and there is necessary. In my humble pasta loving opinion. You know how some recipes don’t live up to the hype? And like the after holidays let down, you just feel a little empty inside? Yeah this is not like that. I had to force myself to stop eating it. I am hoping the leftovers will be even better since the flavors have had time to blend. We shall see. But for tonight…I am a happy happy girl!  The kiddos truly enjoyed it! Victory! 

Crockpot Creamy bacon ranch pasta 

Stuff you need~

1 pound chicken breasts (about 2)

6 strips of bacon, fried until crispy and crumbled 

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch dressing  

1 1/2 teaspoons of minced garlic 

1 cup sour cream 

1 can cream of chicken soup 

1/2 cup water 

Black pepper 

8 ounces cooked angel hair (about 1/2 box)  

What to do with the stuff~

well if you have not yet, fry your bacon. Bacon good. 

  
Then you want to spray your 4 quart crockpot with cooking spray. Then lay your chicken breasts in the crockpot. Tell them to sit tight. Then combine all ingredients except pasta in a bowl. Mix well. 

  
Then you want to pour this mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or so. I let mine just turn off and then it was on low until I was ready to add pasta. Also, shred the chicken breasts before adding the pasta. Once pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the delicious sauce in the crockpot and gently stir to combine. Then just serve it warm. My crockpot has a warm button, so I just it on until we were ready to eat, even once I added pasta. 

  Simply delicious!!! 

so much yum!!

  

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Super easy crockpot Skillet steak and gravy and the upside to being iced in 

I am really bad about cooking according to my whims. If there is such a thing as cooking add, I have it.  A recipe looks so good one day I decide it must be made then life gets in the way and the next day I am over it. Into the freezer goes the meat I had bought and hopefully the ingredients I bought are nonperishable. As bad as that seems, there is an upside to it. When you have been iced in and going to the store is not a good idea but you know the tiny people who live with you (and one big one) will be asking for dinner by days’ end…you get concerned. Unless of course you have the frozen remnants of a cooking add fit and you realize you still have that skillet steak in the freezer you never made. And because you never have an empty pantry (thank you God) you are pretty sure you have the other basic ingredients in there. It pays off sometimes to be me.  A little flighty, easily distracted and like to be prepared. So last night when I realized the kids would be home another day, I thought oh my I best get my game face on. We already had pancakes and cheesy eggs this week and I am not certain it’s cool to do that twice in a row. So big daddy brings up this skillet steak that had been there a while and I conceded that it was time to cook it. So we took it out to thaw and this morning it was on. That’s the up side to not being able to run to the store. It needs to happen sometimes. And it’s nice to be reminded of how much I already have.  We, I have enough.  I found the recipe I had saved on Pinterest and I set to work. It could not be easier and I have sampled it already…it tastes so good. And better still, the house smells so fantastic when you walk in from that icy cold air and step inside. Yum. So if you can get to the store today and get the stuff you don’t have…there is still time. It cooks so fast. Another bonus is that this is not an expensive recipe to make. I bought skillet steak because it was on sale but you can buy cubed steak. Whatever works. Throw in a veggie and a starch and voila…a hearty supper that is easy on the wallet and will warm your family from their head to their toes. 

Here are a few pictures of our wintry mix days at home…



yook mama an icicle


little ice in the hair



its an ice day!!

sister has some ice goggles


BD’s creation…buck dynasty

channeling her inner Elsa

Crockpot skillet steak and gravy

Stuff you need~

1 family pack of cubed steak or skillet steak 

1 can cream of mushroom 

1 can golden mushroom 

1 pack beefy onion soup mix 

1/2 cup water 

What to do with the stuff~

Cut your meat in to serving size portions. Mine was already like that but just in case. Place meat on the bottom of your slow cooker. Layer if necessary. In a medium size whisk together the soups and soup mix and water. Pour this over the meat. Cook on low for about 6 hours depending on your crockpot. Done. 



looks pretty good, doesn’t it?


even Roy enjoyed the ice



Crockpot ribs…crazy crockpot week continues

So this is what I have to say about these ribs…the crockpot method worked really well. They were so fall off the bone tender it was crazy. Truly fabulous. I stuck them under the broiler for about 5 minutes after dousing them with our favorite barbecue sauce. That kind of caramelized them a bit. Now I bought beef ribs and I am not sure that was the best decision. They had an awful lot of fat on them and cooked down to almost nothing. The meat that was on there was so tender and tasty, but Big Daddy said it was like a game of hide and seek to find meat vs. fat. So next time I will be buying pork ribs. Likely country style spare ribs since you have to cut them up to fit them in the crock pot anyway. Those come separated and it will cut down on cook time. That leads me to another thing…I will use my bigger crockpot next time and double the ribs. But remember we have 6 people in our family and even my picky kid loved these ribs. So that’s my take. It was pretty awesome to have ribs ready in the crockpot and with some tweaking this will be a great day recipe. So day one of crazy crockpot week in my kitchen was a semi success. But most of all…people were fed. That’s what really counts.~AMB

Crockpot ribs

stuff you need~

3 pounds ribs (again I will choose country style pork ribs next time)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sherry cooking wine
1/2 cup barbecue sauce (plus more when they are done)
Kosher salt and black pepper

what to do with the stuff~

Again, I would use a 5-6 quart slow cooker even if you don’t double the recipe. The ribs are a little bulky and hard to fit in there even when cut up some. But use your judgement. Cut ribs to fit into crockpot. Pour water and cooking sherry into crockpot. Lay ribs in slow cooker. Sprinkle adequately with salt and pepper. Pour barbecue sauce over the ribs. Cook on low for about 7 hours. The meat will be falling off the bone when they are done. When they were tender, I removed them from the slow cooker with a pair of tongs and laid them in a 9 x 13 baking dish and the smothered them in our favorite barbecue sauce. Clay’s daddy (Big Papa) has a friend who makes some barbecue sauce that is out of this world. It’s a thinner tangier sauce which is what we love. Anyway, put under broiler on lo for about 5 minutes or so to give them a nice caramelized look. Delicious! Three cheers for ribs on Monday night. Yum!

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cannot wait until next time

Crockpot jambalaya

I am about to tell y’all something. I may shock you. It’s quite the revelation. I have never made jambalaya that was not out of the box. And to go further, I cannot remember my mom ever making jambalaya. Maybe she did but I don’t remember. I mean, we ate lots of rice for sure, but not what I would call jambalaya. But I get asked often if I have a really good jambalaya recipe. My answer is always…”um…no”. I feel it is time to right this wrong. How can I call myself Cajun Mama without a good jambalaya recipe? And not jambalaya from a box. Also, I had brunch with my home chick, Joni today, I was inspired. No we did not eat jambalaya for brunch. She told me her husband, Heath, made a kick butt pot of jambalaya last night. So I knew the day had come. I hollered at my pal Google, and searched for an easy crockpot chicken and sausage jambalaya. Ole Google delivered, as usual. Here is the original link http://www.myrecipes.com/m/recipe/easy-slow-cooker-jambalaya-10000001875863/. It was quite tasty, but the rice was a little chewy. Well now that I look at the recipe again, it says clearly to switch the slow cooker to high after you add rice. So my bad!! Cajun mama is not always so bright y’all. Learn from my mistakes and avoid chewy rice!

Crockpot jambalaya

serves 8 or more

Stuff you need

1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 1/2 teaspoons of the jarred stuff)
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 package smoked sausage, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice

What to do with the stuff

Add all the ingredients except the rice to a large (5 quart) slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on low for 5 hours. It may take less time, mine took about 4 hours.
Now stir in the rice. Switch the Slow cooker to high and cook for 30 minutes. Season according to taste.

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Crockpot chicken and gravy and welcoming Fall

I know we all love a good crockpot recipe. We also love a good crisp Fall day. First off I want to say “Happy Fall y’all!!!!” There is a slight chill in the air and it is so welcome over here. Now, I know the other side of all this is that for some of y’all this means a little fall and then here comes the power outages, freezing cold and snow, snow and more snow. But for today, we will enjoy this lovely Fall weather and a deliciously easy crockpot recipe. I am waiting in the Starbucks line for my triple shot pumpkin spice latte. It seems appropriate. This recipe was a big hit in our household. I found it on http://www.thecountrycook.net. I served it with a side of steamed broccoli and served the gravy over rice along with some Sister Schubert rolls. My little lamb chop aka Pappy aka Lucas (yes they have a million nicknames) loves those rolls. I really hope you and your family enjoy it as much as we did. Madame Toot happily exclaimed in her sweet little voice “yum! This tastes like Thanksgiving!!”
Get inspired my friends. Enjoy this new season rolling in because all too soon it will change. Break out your crockpot and make life easy on yourself. Let supper cook itself so you can sit outside and watch the leaves fall and the kids run. Or just sit there and enjoy this day for the beauty it is. Enjoy the moment because truly it is all we have promised. ~AMB

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a little glimpse of Fall in our hood

Crockpot Chicken and Gravy

Stuff you need~

1 pound chicken breasts
2 packages (0.87 ounce) dry gravy mix
1 (10.75 ounce) cream of chicken soup
2 cups water
1/2 cup sour cream (optional but definitely recommended)
Kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder

What to do with the stuff~

Season chicken busoms with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
In your crockpot, whisk together the dry gravy mix, water and cream of chicken soup until fairly smooth. Now lay the chicken busoms in the crockpot. Cook on low about 4 hours (mine cooks fast so it takes less time so do what works for your crockpot). Remove chicken breasts with slotted spoon onto a plate. Shred and then set aside. Whisk in the sour cream. Return shredded chicken to it’s lovely gravy. Now spoon over mashed potatoes, cooked white rice, or cooked noodles. Easy at that. Delicious chicken and gravy and Fall has arrived! Ahhhh!!

Most of all…

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my friend Liz posted this on Facebook this morning and I figured I would share.