Thursday, August 2, 2012

Ode to My Crock Pot

First off, I am absolutely FLOORED that it has been a month since I last posted! How terrible of me! I have MANY posts in my head that I even took pictures for, and yet, they never got posted! I'll try to get  back on the ball from now on!

Now, since I missed QUITE a few Menu Planning Monday posts, I bet you think that I didn't actually do the planning! WRONG! I have been a planning machine, and I love it! My new favorite cooking machine for the summer? Not the grill (though I do LOVE the grill!), it's MY CROCK POT. It doesn't heat up the whole kitchen, and it is just so darn easy it feels like cheating!

There is something rich and comforting about a slow cooked meal. They are usually familiar flavors and often creamy or slightly heavy. I don't think I would have normally made some of these meals in the summer, but since they don't require me to stand over a hot stove, I'm game! I'm REALLY excited about making these recipes during our ridiculously long winters, let me tell you! But not, enough talk! Let me catch you up on some of our newest experiments, and I'll also throw in a few of our favorites!

Want some summer favorites? Who doesn't love BBQ Ribs or BBQ Pulled Chicken? If you had told me that I could make ribs in my crock pot, I probably would have looked at you sideways - but believe it! They are SO tender and SO yummy! It's a summer delight, that's for sure! The ribs have both a dry rub and sauce when going into the pot. They are finished under the boiler with a lovely sauce made from the liquid in the crock pot. Martin did so much of the work for this while I was off shaking it at Zumba, and it. was. wonderful! We will totally be making this again!

THANK YOU BACK TO HER ROOTS! These are awesome ribs!
This BBQ Chicken was one of the first recipes I EVER made in the Crock Pot, and it quickly became one of our favorites. Great for a party, and totally easy to make into sliders! We followed the suggestions on and add onion and garlic right away. It really adds some depth! Make it your own ya'll!

Mmm, saucy! :) 

Sure, it's summer, and you probably don't think of soup or chili as a summery dish do you? Well...OK, I have no defense for that! It really is more of a fall and winter food, but I'm a soup junkie, so when I see a new crock pot recipe that appeals to me, I'm going to make it REGARDLESS of the month! We recently made Lasagna Soup and one of my childhood favorites Chicken & Dumplings! We made a Cream Cheese Chicken Chili a few months ago, and it has become a recipe I get STRONG cravings for - really yummy! 

The Lasagna Soup really could become a deconstructed lasagna if you add hearty noodles! One of my favorite bloggers, Cassie, from Back to Her Roots, posted this on her blog (a long time ago), and I'm so glad we decided to make it. Truthfully, I'm not willing to put in the effort to create a lasagna, and this sounded easy... and it was! DO take the time to finish each bowl under the broiler with the ricotta and mozzarella on it - it is totally worth the five minute wait! 

BTHR does it again! I'm a huge fan of her food!
One of my favorite childhood meals HAD to be Chicken & Dumplings. We didn't have it all the time, but when we did, it was such a wonderful treat! I was shocked to see the dumplings for this crock pot version were made from Grands biscuits! I had some serious doubts that this would taste ANYTHING like the dumplings I loved, but I'm happy to report that they do! Because the biscuit is essentially steamed in the chicken stew they don't crisp up at all, and really DO have a dumpling quality. Give it a shot and let me know if you agree! Next time I will be adding some veggies as this is a bit rich for me (though it is actually NOT very calorie-rich, which is a bonus!). Peas will really look nice in here! 

Comfort Food. Enough said!
Last, but never least, our new standard for Chicken Chili! I don't think I need to say much here, you've already heard me rave and rave about this, haha! I'll let you in on a secret though, DO add some extra jalapeno! We didn't the second time we made it, and it was a mistake! The taste was still good, but it just didn't compare! Don't go crazy, we used less than half a jalapeno, and it was only because we had some left over, now I will get one just to add in here!

The BEST Chicken Chili I've ever had!
I'm so glad that I finally posted again, but I have to say it was exquisite torture too! I'm doing a few days of juicing & smoothies right now to try to "reboot" my body and start actually losing weight again, so these are just taunting me, haha! But like the commercial says, "We shall detox... then retox!" I know I'll be making these again soon! 

Yooper Love!