Tag Archives: slow cooker

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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Slow cooker chicken quesadillas and the gift of another Monday morning

Happy Monday!!  Ever feel like this about Mondays? 

  
Yeah me too!!  It’s been an interesting weekend and I am actually posting from our beloved pediatrician’s office. So I think that automatically makes it an extra fun Monday!!! My daughter fell during our water hose fun the other day and hurt her tailbone. The pitiful thing laid on the couch most of Saturday and all day yesterday and she is typically a blur of motion.   Just to be sure it’s not broken and for her (and my) peace of mind we are at pediatrician’s office to get an x-ray. 

my poor baby

Some days it’s hard to get real jazzed up about much and Mondays are sometimes that day for me. My cup of coffee with my oldest and Roozie in my lap are both things I treasure but still Mondays are a stretch. I wanted to maybe enter a little excitement into your lives (assuming a great recipe can do such a thing for you as it does for me). It’s my Monday morning gift so to speak. Which is really a gift itself. To get up this morning and have a whole new week full of possibility stretched out before me. All the opportunities, the blessings, the joy.

  
 Even another visit to the doctor’s office where we are among friends is a blessing. Thank God for insurance and a great staff full of awesome people to take care of my kiddos even if this is the 3rd visit here in a week. 

don’t ask me why my little one is with us

Now for my Monday morning gift to you…a really easy tasty recipe!! So last week I had a hankering for chicken quesadillas. But I was not in the mood to stand over the stove and do what one has to do to get the filling prepared. You know…because I was feeling particularly lazy. Yet I was feeling adventurous. Try new things but not have to work too hard for it. Only way to go my friends! My kids are getting to where they all enjoy Mexican food, even my picky oldest aka PO. He is aware that I call him that FYI and he owns the name. I found this recipe on http://www.getcrocked.com. 

Anyway, I was very impressed with the creamy texture of this quesadilla filling and also how tasty they were. I will completely admit that my quesadilla making technique needs some work but I am a work in progress and that’s ok. I used my smaller round slow cooker and next time I will use my bigger oblong one. Also I washed the chicken breasts but in my haste to get them going I did not pat them dry and I think that made the filling a little watery. So lesson learned and they were still pretty awesome. I think these will work well for anyone who loves quesadillas without all the fuss and will be perfect for baseball families as I know this is the time of year for that. As the days get warmer, it is also a great recipe to have on hand to avoid heating the house up with the oven or sweat over a stove. I got you covered my baseball mom friends, hot natured friends, friends in the doctor’s office with no idea what to do for supper, friends who dislike having to cook…I have got you covered. Ain’t it grand? It’s the little things friends…never forget to give thanks for the little things and another Monday morning. 

Slow cooker chicken quesadillas 

Stuff you need~

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

4 ounce can diced green chiles 

1 can Rotel undrained (I used the kind cilantro and it was awesome) 

8 ounce package cream cheese 

Shredded cheese of your choice (cheddar, Monterey Jack) 

Tortillas 

Optional: pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole 

What to do with the stuff~

Add (washed and patted dried) chicken breasts to the slow cooker. Add all other ingredients to the slow cooker.

  
 Cook on low for about 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Add back to slow cooker and stir into other ingredients. 

Now, heat a little butter in a skillet or on a griddle. Place tortilla on griddle and on one side add some of the chicken mixture and on the other half add some shredded cheese. Allow cheese to melt a little and then use a spatula to fold filled tortilla in half, like so…

  
Allow cheese to melt completely and give and few presses with spatula for good measure. Repeat with each tortilla to make as many as you need. Cut in half and serve along side sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole for an authentic Mexican restaurant experience!! Margaritas are optional…or are they? Ole! 

Tengo hambre? (4 years of spanish baby!!)

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 week extended because life gets in the way…beef and broccoli and heaven in a crockpot

Another week has flown by and I have not been feeling the whole cooking thing lately. Crockpot, microwave, on the stove or otherwise…not. feeling. it. Shame on me I know, but it is what it is. So I knew I needed to get these crockpot recipes posted. I mean…as it is crockpot week has gone into crockpot month. It’s time. I know it’s time. So this past weekend I decided the week of Thanksgiving was likely the perfect time to trot these crockpot recipes out because who wants to cook a bunch of other meals before taking on the mother of all meals? The beast. So crockpot cooking all week before sounded fine to me. Plus we will all have to pick up the pace in the coming weeks as the holiday madness engulfs us, despite some of our best efforts. So Saturday evening, I set heaven in a crockpot to cook in the crockpot (quite aptly named, I can say that) and took the roast out of the freezer so I could put the beef for the beef and broccoli to cook the next morning.
Well, little did I know how very glad I would be to have done that. I have not seen Momou in a while and I was yearning to see her. Needed to see her face. I was missing her, badly. So Sunday morning, I woke up and decided that was the day I would make the trek to AP to see her. Me and my kiddos. Plus, we would get to stop in Alex. to see my mom and dad. Awesome!!! BD was at Bayou LaGrue chasing after the ever elusive buck for the weekend and it was rainy and nasty, we were stuck inside anyhow…let’s do this! So we did. I left T-Roy in the hands of a good friend and her son…so I knew he would be happy. It was go time. But before leaving, I got that beef simmering away in the crockpot. I am not always a super duper planner…but I was on it that day. It was super easy to throw together. And off to AP we went.
Here’s a few pictures from our Sunday…it’s amazing what all you can get done while the slow cooker cooks supper for you!!

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You can take a ride with a friend

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you can take a nap

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you can visit one of your favorite people

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you can make silly faces

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you can pick pecans with your grandmother

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you can take selfies with your parents

See what I mean…I am 2 hours away and still supper was cooking. Thank you crockpot with a timer!!!

Ok now let’s get down to the brass tacks. The nitty gritty. The bare bones. Enough enough…here comes the recipes!! Both are very delicious and defy the laws of slow cooking. Are there laws? Idk. I thought it sounded good. The point is…they are both really yummy and absolutely worth the little time it takes to toss it all in. Tis the season to be crazy and tis the season to let the slow cooker do all the work!

Slow cooker Beef and broccoli

*I doubled the ingredients for the sauce but I am giving you the original recipe as I found it on http://www.worldsbestrecipes4utoday.blogspot.com

sltuff you need~

1 pound boneless beef chuck roast cut into 1 inch strips (I could not find one that small, so I used a 2 pound roast…not an issue)
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 heads of broccoli cut into florets (more if desired…definitely add 2 heads and if you use a 2 pound roast use 3)
2 tablespoons of cooled sauce from the crockpot
Hot cooked rice

What to do with the stuff~

Toss the beef into your slow cooker. For this I used my 4.5 quart slow cooker. In a large mixing bowl, add the brown sugar, broth, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil. Whisk together….

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And then pour over the beef. Cook on low for about 6-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker.

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everyone say it with me…set it and forget it!!! Now pack the kids in the car and head to Avoyelles!!

Ok once the beef is good and tender, take a spoon and add some of that liquid to a bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch. Remember if you doubled the sauce ingredient amounts, then double this as well.

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Now pour this mixture back into the slow cooker. Give it a stir. Now, add your broccoli florets to the mix. Cook on low for another 30 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice. And you are golden.

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might tasty my friends

Heaven in a crockpot (from http://www.recipe-diaries.com

Stuff you need~

1 box brownie mix (regular not family size is what I used)
1 package Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
4 large eggs
1/2 cup butter (I stick), melted

what to do with the stuff~

Pour all ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Mix until well combined. Pour into a greased slow cooker. For this I used my 3 1/2 quart slow cooker (I think that is the size, either 3 or 3 1/2 quart). Cook for about 3 hours. Mine took 3 1/2 hours. Serve alone or a la mode. Vanilla ice cream. A drizzle of chocolate sauce and a sprinkling of chocolate chips (my oldest’s words exactly…he has a way with words…and has had some awesome schooling in the ELA department). Heaven I tell you. Yes heaven. Makes you make a face that looks like this…

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silly girl

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swoon worthy…or is it spoon worthy?

Slow cooker chicken potpie stew…the madness continues

Ever have those days where you just feel disgruntled, annoyed, bothered by the slightest thing? Yeah that’s me today. And I am not even sure why. I am blessed. I wake up each day knowing this. I try to have an attitude of gratitude and a positive outlook but somedays I just feel…Blah. Ugh. Yuck. My youngest started crying in the car on the way to school saying that his stomach hurt. Let me add that he was up in the middle of the night saying the same thing. But he is a mediocre sleeper at best unless he is our bed, so let’s not get all alarmed here. We have struggled with this issue since he was a baby and I try my best to take it in stride. This is not me seeking sleep training advice because I would likely not take it. I have tried. BD has his opinions on it, my in laws have their opinions on it, my friends have their opinions on it…I guess we will do what we are doing until we do something else. Yeah I know…logical right? And then the puppy had his own sleep issues last night and I was just keyed up in general despite being exhausted. Anyway, back to today. He cries all the way to school, much to the annoyance of his siblings…and me. He is not a complainer usually. So I believed his tummy hurt but at the same time he is a kid and kids can be manipulative when they want to get their way. I am annoyed at the prospect of him staying home. I want some time to be alone and get stuff done. I admit it. It’s purely selfish on my part. Sometimes being a mom and a wife and pet owner and the other roles I love and chose gets to be too much. I admit this. So here I am, faced with this screaming child after a night of less than great sleep and I just felt…defeated. So we pull up at carpool drop off. The big kids get out in the back. Then I drive up to the front to let Goose out and hopefully Pappy. Goose gets out. He acts like he is going to get out and then comes up to the front of the van and just lays his head on my shoulder and cries. What do you do? The faculty that helps kids out are all like family and they come check on him. No. He is not having it. So I pull up to get out of the way. And I give myself a reality check. “What’s it gonna hurt if he misses a day of school? He is in 1st grade. Life has gone by way too fast as it is and somedays I start to miss the days gone by. When it was he and I running errands and he took naps and life was simple. I am not one to long for days gone by much because well it does no good and also I know in my heart that life has to move forward. So today, I gave in. Against my better judgement and knowing how badly I needed some quiet, I gave in. Because I know from experience it will not always be this easy to allow him to miss, school gets harder and the stakes are higher the older they get. So today, despite the exhaustion and frustration, the downsides to being a harried, frazzled, overwhelmed mom, I am in this moment. It looks sort of like this…
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it’s a hot mess over here

So one thing that brings me hope and allows me to feel less frazzled is knowing that my lovely crockpot aka Big Red will be cooking supper for me tonight. That way I can wash the peed on sheets, clean up the doggy accident, and the other array of cleaning jobs that need to be done around here and my family will get fed tonight. I have been wanting to make this chicken potpie stew for the longest time. The only thing that has stopped me is that my kids love the Bisquick potpie and I hardly vary. Here is the recipe in case you are interested..https://cajunmamacookinblog.com/2014/03/28/bisquick-chicken-potpie/. My oldest, is particularly set in his ways, has been resistant to me trying this recipe BUT we took them to a fundraiser at Cane’s last night for their school and the deal was if I took them last night, he would try the potpie stew tonight. So the day has come!!! It
Is cooking away happily right now, making the house smell so warm and homey. I will let ya’ll know the final verdict tomorrow and post a pic, but for now I will post the recipe. I found the recipe on http://www.allrecipes.com. After reading the comments, I took a few culinary liberties and made a few changes. We shall see. But the veggies are a part of the package and it is served over good ole buttermilk biscuits. I fail to see how this can go wrong.

Slow cooker chicken potpie stew

Stuff you need~

3 chicken beasts, cubed up
2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans of cream of chicken soup
2 (10 1/2 ounce) cans of cream of celery soup
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3 carrots, sliced and then quartered
1 cup diced celery
8-10 small cubed red potatoes
1/2-1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen mixed vegetables
Black pepper (optional)

What to do with the stuff

Add soups, bouillon cubes, carrots, potatoes, celery, cubed chicken and garlic powder to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on low for approximately 5 hours. Stir in frozen veggies and cook about another hour. Serve over freshly baked buttermilk biscuits. I am using the frozen Grands biscuits but you can use the canned ones as well. Or bake your own…if you are that good and have the time. Lol! I am not that good. Enjoy!!

Update–this was absolutely delicious!!! It was a hit at our house!!

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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

French dip sandwiches and finding peace

This has been one heck of an week y’all, I am not going to lie. I am ending this week even more grateful than usual that today is Friday. I am just worn out and in need to quiet. Being a mom is a big job, sometimes more than others. This week seems like one of those times. All this school stuff is a lot to take these days. At the same time it is a blessing because my kids go to a really wonderful school full of amazing teachers, faculty and staff. My oldest is in his last year at this wonderful school and with all the changes across the state happening in the classroom, it has all been a lot to take for him. For me. It all kind of came to a head yesterday. He is too smart for his own good and knows too much. Being a type a person like his mama, he takes so much to heart and became overwhelmed by it all. Too much stress for a kid. Heck, too much for a mama. I think we got it all worked out, thanks to some really wonderful teachers who love my kid(s) to pieces and are not afraid to speak up. We had a talk last night and I think it is going to be ok. Of course it will. Even still, I am in need of a retreat from the world. I am seeking peace. When I feel that way, I just want to feather my nest. Clean, straighten up, and of course, cook something really delicious. Or even better…have my trusty crockpot aka big red, do it for me. Yeah that’s even better. So I came across this one on Facebook yesterday and I pinned it, thinking that might be perfect for tonight. Here is the link http://creolecontessa.com/2014/06/slow-cooker-french-dip-sandwich/. So mit’s happening. Now, it’s a recipe I have never made before so I will have to wait to tell you how delicious it is, though I am feeling pretty confident that it will be really tasty. So now pictures of the final product until later. For now, we will just get the recipe down.
Ok! Let’s get down to it y’all!!

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

stuff you need

3-4 pound chuck roast
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 cups beef broth
1 tablespoon Tony’s seasoning
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon dried crushed oregano
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

what to do with the stuff~

In a small bowl, mix together the spices. Like so…

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Now, rub that spice all over both sides of the roast. I did this all in the crockpot.
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Ok. Now just pour the liquids over the roast and then lay your sliced onion on top. Cook on low heat for 5 hours. Remove from crockpot and shred. Return to crockpot. Serve on a hoagie bun with mayo, mozzarella, and/or mild pepper rings. Add some juice to the bowl for dipping if you are so inclined. And I will be.
Enjoy!!! (And I will post pics of the finished product later. Also look for a recipe for apple sangria and crockpot beef enchilada soup…both on tap for this weekend!! Oh and Patti Labelle’s over the rainbow macaroni and cheese!! Comfort food!)

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supper is cooking away and I am cleaning…feathering my nest. Finding peace.

**UPDATE…they are delicious!!!! Must try friends! Must try!

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wipe the drool off your face…

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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Lisa’s elegant beef tips, bringing home a baby and and a fairy godmother

I have told y’all about my good friend Lisa. She is the mother of my babysitters, April and Alaina. Now, these girls rarely babysit for us anymore as they are both away at college. These days, when they babysit it is more like spending time with my kids because they miss them and cannot take not seeing them another minute. We have been together so long that it supersedes any definition. We are family. We spend holidays together. We love each other. And Lisa is at the helm of our ship. She is the most fabulous. She is an excellent cook and southern woman extraordinaire.
Back in the day, when I was a mom of 3 little kids and pregnant with baby Lucas as we called him…April and Alaina babysat for us a lot. I was a needy person if there ever was one. I was tired, pregnant, and just likely a hot mess. Big Daddy worked all the time and I needed help. So no wonder, those sweet girl and their mama were there. Sometimes daily. Thank God. So when I went into labor with Lucas a month early, they were right there during the following days, taking care of kiddos, cleaning the house, and waiting for us when we got home from the hospital. And the house smelled so wonderful because these beef tips were cooking away in the crockpot. I still have the piece of paper the girls had written the recipe on as Lisa called it out over the phone, I suppose. I pulled it out yesterday to make these beef tips and I just smiled. I will never forget when Lisa was leaving my house that day we got home from the hospital. She came to get some baby Lucas snuggles and pick up the girls (so long ago they could not drive yet…crazy business folks). She was walking to her car and I said “thank you so much for everything” and she said and I quote “well Mrs. Aimee (that is what the girls call me and she does too…even now…) everyone needs a fairy godmother and I may as well be yours.” I knew then that woman would be my friend for life. I was not wrong. Her recipes are divine and these beef tips are no exception. Try them. But I have to say, her friendship is the best. ~AMB

Lisa’s elegant beef tips

serves 8

Stuff you need~

1 (3 pound) chuck roast, cut into chunks, fat removed
1 cup sherry cooking wine
1 cup chopped celery
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained (I used the larger sized jar)
2 packets of beefy mushroom soup mix
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 soup can of water
Cooked rice

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ready to go

What to do with the stuff~

Whisk together the soup, water, soup mix and cooking together. Stir in the celery and mushrooms. Finally, stir in the cubed up beef. Cook on low for 6 hours or until beef is cooked through. I will be honest and say I put mine on around 11 and they were cooked by 3:30 when I got home from picking the kids up. It depends on your crockpot and anywhere between 4 and 6 hours is normal. Just check them if you don’t know.

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cutting into that roast (it is more economical to do it this way but stew meat is convenient so do what works for you)

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whisking the soups and wine together

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add the celery

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it’s go time

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so good

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my two angels several years ago with baby Lucas(that was their baby and he still is)

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my fairy godmother and 3 year old Lucas

Slow cooker hot fudge sundae cake

This dessert is a real winner. It is not only a chocolate lover’s dream…it is made in the slow cooker. Oh yes. You heard me. Slow. Cooker. Cake. When my editor for Red River Mom’s asked me for some slow cooker recipes for our September issue, I of course had several on hand, tried and true and no fail. But then I thought of this little nugget I had found on Pinterest (where all things magical come from…happy sigh) I was skeptical (really? Cake in a crock pot…yeah maybe.) and I decided I would give it a go. The blogger at Country Cook blog (www.thecountrycook.net) made it sound heavenly and she had found it in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook. That alone said so much! I am a Gooseberry Patch lover from way back and I always loved their cookbooks (and sidenote…I actually have a recipe in one of them…little Cajun Mama trivia for the day). The recipe uses pretty basic ingredients and is super simple. PI did not double the recipe the first time around and I really should have. We had a friend and her son over and it was gone in no time flat. Bluebell Homemade Vanilla on the side of this ooey gooey delight pushes it right over the edge into pure dessert nirvana.
I urge you, out of the goodness of my heart, to do what is right and try this dessert very soon. That’s my challenge to y’all. No ice water here, just hot fudge sundae cake ba-beee!!! So glad the als challenge is going well, but over here we prefer hot fudge over our cake to ice water over our heads. It’s the Cajun mama way!~AMB

Slow cooker Hot fudge sundae cake

*this recipe is meant for a smaller slow cooker (3 quart) so double it if using a larger crockpot. Doubling is recommended if you have more than 4 people who will be eating it and you want to avoid an angry mob.

Stuff you need~

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder, divided
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
3/4 brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cup hot water

What to do with the stuff~
**IMPORTANT–be sure to spray your slow cooker with some Baker’s Joy or cooking spray before adding the first ingredient. Trust Cajun Mama on this!

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and 2 tablespoons of the cocoa powder. Or instead of sifting, just use a fork to mix it together really well and mashing the ingredients up against the edge of the bowl until it’s all really fine. Stir in milk, oil and vanilla extract. Stir until combined. Fold in the chopped nuts at this point if you are using them.
Spread this mixture evenly all over the bottom of the sprayed slow cooker. Ok now, for the second layer, in a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar and cocoa powder. Next, stir in the hot water and mix until smooth. Finally, pour this mixture evenly over the first layer. Now DO NOT STIR!!! Do not stir the two layers. This will mess with the perfection that is this dessert. No stir–got it?!! This how the hot fudge sauce and cake layers form. Important scientific stuff.
Put the lid on and cook for about 2-2 1/2 hours on low. Use toothpick test if you are uncertain on the doneness.
Let this sit in the crockpot for 30-40 minutes after the cake is done, so the layers can settle.

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mash all those dry ingredients together

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cook and then let it sit. So tempting and hard to do…it’s worth it

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see what I mean? Worth it. A la mode honey. All the way!