Ganache


Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
September 4, 2011, 10:03 pm
Filed under: Food and Recipes, Main Dishes | Tags: , , , ,

These tacos are so good, I’ve made them twice since discovering them and still haven’t grown tired of the recipe. I’m not exactly sure where the recipe originated, but a friend from work told me how to make the tacos. It’s so easy; it’s almost like not cooking, and is amazingly healthy! If you have chicken breasts in the fridge, that’s fine, but you can actually start them from completely frozen, which makes the dish even easier to make. Seriously, make these soon! You won’t be disappointed!

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Burkeen
4 WW PointsPlus per serving, makes 10 servings

4 boneless skinless breasts
1 small jar pace picante salsa (you choose the heat, I do medium)
1 packet taco seasoning

Place chicken in the bottom of your crock pot and cover with salsa and seasoning. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Remove the meat, shred, return back to the sauce and stir to combine. Dip out into tortillas and top with toppings of choice.



Rainy Days
September 20, 2009, 7:41 pm
Filed under: Food and Recipes, Main Dishes | Tags: , , ,

It’s been raining here in Memphis for a week…a whole solid week. I like rain as much as the next guy, but sheesh…

The one thing I do like about the rain is how it has me craving comforting dinners that are simmered throughout the day, filling the house with aromas of winter, and promises of good things to come (at least for dinner, that is). Last night it was roast oven-braised in Cabernet and Beef Stock with onions, cremini mushrooms, and carrots, hinted with the scent of thyme and rosemary, paired with roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary substituted for dill, and butter and lemon green beans, also with a hint of the same fresh pine-scented rosemary. If that wasn’t good enough, there was chocolate and coffee-scented mousse for dessert. Yeah, if you’re wondering, it was fabulous…

But before that it was taco soup and grilled cheese. Simple, yet effective. Oh, and these muffins, too. But back to the taco soup: easy, delicious, quick, fix-it-and-forget-it type meal. We’ve already discussed my love affair with my slow cooker, and it’s uncanny ability to enhance and meld flavors, and make them seem richer and deeper. So, what better time to pull this trick out than on a rainy day where I want a soup and sandwich? The time was then, and it can be for you now, too.

Oh, and tonight, it shall be simmered tomato sauce with spaghetti and homemade meatballs. I have the best recipe…one of those done by grandmothers in Italy years ago…I promise that soon, but for now, please make the taco soup. Rainy day or not, you’ll be happy you did. I swear.

Taco Soup

I’ve made this soup before without the slow cooker, and it’s still delicious. But if you have the time, I highly suggest the crock-pot method. As good as it is without the crock-pot, it’s ten times better with. In regards to all the canned veggies in this soup, DO NOT drain your cans. The liquids help to thicken the soup, and yield flavor as well. If you are concerned about sodium intake, buy low-sodium cans where available.

INGREDIENTS:
1 lb lean ground hamburger meat
1 medium chopped onion
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can corn, undrained
1 can Rotel brand tomatoes, original type, undrained
1 can chili beans in mild sauce, undrained
1 can tomato sauce, undrained
1 can red kidney beans, undrained
1 can white kidney, or cannellini beans, undrained
1 package taco seasoning
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
3 to 4 cups water (depending on your desired thickness of the soup)
2 bay leaves

1. Set up your slow cooker. Heat a non-stick skillet over med-high heat and begin to brown off your hamburger meat, simply seasoned with salt and pepper to taste. When hamburger meat is browned, drain any excess fat, set aside.

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2. Continuing in the same skillet, brown your onion and your bell pepper over med-high heat until slightly colored and softened. Set aside.

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3. Open all cans and pour into your slow cooker. In a mixing bowl, combine your water and both seasoning packets, whisking to dissolve. Pour the seasoning mixture then into your slow cooker. Add your ground beef, onions, peppers, and bay leaves. Stir to combine.

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4. Cook over low heat for as long as possible, but at least 4-5 hours.

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Crock Pot Lasagna
July 6, 2009, 3:42 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes | Tags: ,

I know, I know…you all must think that I only cook with the Crock Pot with two posts in a row that use this handy kitchen tool…I don’t. Although, I do love my Crock Pot. Here’s why: It has the uncanny ability to take flavors and meld them. It enhances flavors that need enhancing and mellows flavors that are overbearing. Not to mention the “fix it and forget it” factor. Yes, that is why I like my Crock Pot.

This lasagna is absolutely delicious. The flavors are earthy and down-home Italian and the recipe calls for no ricotta cheese. Yes, I know most Lasagnas use Ricotta. My husband is the odd one here; he hates the stuff. Shocking, yes, but true. How one can hate Ricotta the world may never know. But I must say that I actually don’t miss it in this recipe. This particular recipe calls for only mozzarella (and I add a little parmesean), and utilizes a combination of ground beef and sweet italian sausage. The carrots do a wonderful job of reducing the acidity of the tomatoes. Prep is quick, the lasagna noodles do not even have to be pre-cooked. It’s true! After 4 hours in the crock pot, the flavors are so mellow, subtle, and warming that I have to smile in satisfaction…and do the “I’ve cooked a good meal” dance across my kitchen.

Paired with a salad and some garlic bread, Lasagna night will become a hit in your household.

Crock Pot Lasagna
Adapted from an Everyday Food Recipe

My recipe varies slightly from the Everyday Food original in that I have substituted whole wheat pasta, upped the herbage and altered spices slightly, and added in some cheese variation.

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb sweet italian sausage, casings removed
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
2 medium carrots, chopped fine
1 small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stem
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles
3 cups low-moisture part-skim mozzarella
1-2 cups parmesean cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste
If unable to obtain fresh herbs, you may substitute fresh herbs with 1 tbsp of italian seasoning

1. Begin to preheat your crock pot by plugging in and placing on low heat.

1. Prepare the sauce – Using a large pot over medium heat, brown sausage and ground beef, breaking into small bits. After cooked, add chopped onion, carrots, herbs, and red pepper flakes. Cook until onion turns opaque. Season meat with a small amount of salt (because the sausage is slightly salty on its own) and pepper to taste. After onion turns opaque, add can of tomato paste and stir until throughly mixed into meat and veggie mixture. Add can of crushed tomatoes. Turn heat down to medium, keep sauce over heat until bubbly. Taste, season with salt or pepper as necessary.

2. Assemble lasagna – Mix together shredded cheeses in a seperate bowl. Using a medium sized ladle, place 2 ladles of sauce in the bottom of your pre-heated crock pot. Place uncooked lasagna noodles on top of the sauce, breaking noodles as necessary to fit. On top of lasagna noodles, place 2 1/2 ladles of sauce, spread evenly to cover. Sprinkle the top of the sauce layer evenly with cheese, enough to cover, but a layer that is not too thick as well. Add another layer of noodles. Continue to layer 2 1/2 lades of sauce, cheese, and noodles until all sauce is used and you end with a sauce layer on top.

3. Cook Lasagna – Cover lasagna and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, until a knife pierces lasagna easily and noodles are cooked through. Do not peek until the four hour mark! The steam helps to cook the noodles. After lasagna is cooked through, sprinkle cheese on the top. Cover and cook another 10 minutes until cheese is melted through.

Hope you enjoy! And, yes, I think it would be perfectly fine if you still decided to use a little Ricotta in here. Maybe I’ll be able to convert my husband…one day. A girl can dream 🙂