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Curried Yellow Split Pea Stew in a Crock Pot

30 Oct

I recently tried a curry yellow split pea soup at one of my favorite local delis and was inspired to replicate it at home. My version turned into a more hearty, thick stew rather than soup, which is what I was after. This can easily be thinned out with more stock or water to make it more of a soup consistency if that’s what you’re looking for. As it is it reminds me very much of an Indian dal and pairs perfectly with grilled naan and a dollop of yogurt or a cooling raita.

Time: 15 min prep, 6+ hours cook                Serves: 6


  • 2 cups yellow split peas
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 3-4 celery stalks,diced (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 large carrots, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • Naan bread (optional, to serve)
  • plain Greek yogurt (optional, to serve)
  • cilantro, roughly chopped (optional, to serve)

How to make it

  • Rinse split peas and soak for about 30 minutes. Drain & rinse.
  • Place onions, celery, and carrots, and garlic in crock pot. Add split peas. Sprinkle cumin, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne pepper over top. Finally, add stock. Do not stir ingredients. Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 hours or on LOW  for 8 – 10 hours until peas are very soft.
  • Remove top, season with salt, stir and cook uncovered for an additional 30 minutes to one hour until thickened up.

My Chili Valentine in a Crock Pot

29 Oct

According to legend, Spanish priests called the first chili “the soup of the Devil” because they believed that chili peppers were an aphrodisiac. This is my beau’s creation and named it so b/c of the pink & red bean combo. He calls it “taste-tastic” and “the best chili you’ll ever eat, ever”.

Time: 15 min prep, 8 hour cook                 Serves: 4-6


  • 1.5 lbs ground beef (chuck)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt (Lawry’s)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 8 oz.can tomato sauce
  • 2 7 oz. cans diced mild green chilies, drained
  • 1 15 oz. can pink beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 oz. can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup A1 steak sauce
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt (Lawry’s)

How to make it

  • Heat 1/4 cup water in a skillet over medium heat. Brown beef and season with following 6 ingredients. Drain and place in crock pot.
  • Add onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chillies, beans, A1, beef stock and bay leaves. Add remaining seasoning. Mix all together.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours.

Beef Tips and Gravy in a Crock Pot

28 Oct

One of the best things to ever come out of my Crock Pot. I knew it had to be good, it is meat cooking in the crock all day after all, but this exceeded my expectations.

Time: 25 min prep, 8 hour cook               Serves: 4


  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp parsley (dried – or 1+ tbsp fresh)
  • 1 pound beef stew meat (chuck/round) cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable/olive oil
  • 3 cups beef stock (low sodium)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4-6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp basil (dried – or 1+ tbsp fresh)
  • 1 tsp parsley (dried – or 1+ tbsp fresh)
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

How to make it

  • Place flour, salt, paprika, pepper and parsley into a sealable plastic bag or paper bag. Toss to mix.
  • Rinse met & pat dry. Add half to flour mixture & toss to coat.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil to medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add coated pieces of meat to skillet. Brown on all sides, this should take about 5 minutes. Transfer to crock pot.
  • Add remaining meat to flour mixture & toss to coat.
  • Heat remaining oil in skillet. Add coated pieces of meat to skillet. Brown on all sides, again about 5 minutes. Transfer to crock pot.
  • Carefully add about 1/2 cup of beef stock to skillet. Scrape up browned bits from the bottom. Pour into crock pot.
  • Pour remaining beef stock into crock pot. Add onions & garlic and remaining seasonings.
  • Cook on LOW for 8 hours.
  • If needed, add a bit of a cornstarch slurry (water + cornstarch) into cooking liquid to thicken up. My gravy was perfect and did not need it this time around.
  • I served this over egg noodles (also labeled as spaetzle) garnished with more parsley. It would also be great over rice, mashed taters, open faced on a sandwich – mmmm….
  • Feel free to add some mushrooms into the pot when adding onions.


Lemon Lime Soda Chicken in a Crock Pot

27 Oct

This chicken tastes a lot like sweet BBQ. It’s so easy & so delicious!

 Time: 5 min prep, 4+ hours cook                Serves: 4


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup splash lemon lime soda (I used Sierra Mist natural)
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • salt to taste

How to make it

  • Place chicken breasts in crock pot. Top with remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

Greek Inspired Pot Roast in a Crock Pot

26 Oct

This dish is inspired by Youvetsi, a Greek stew often made with lamb or beef. It is traditionally served over orzo pasta.

Time: 15 min prep, 6 hour cook               Serves: 4


  • 1 2 pound + beef roast (I used eye of round, and allowed about 1/2 pound per serving)
  • sea salt & black pepper, freshly ground – to taste
  • olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 6 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp oregano, roughly chopped + more for garnish
  • 4 oz. feta cheese – for garnish

How to make it

  • Pour just enough olive oil into a large skillet (stainless steel or cast iron) to cover bottom. Heat over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, season roast liberally with salt & pepper on all sides.
  • Sear roast in hot pan on all sides. Remove and transfer to crock pot. Lower temperature to medium and add garlic. Saute for 1-2 minutes until softened – careful not to burn!
  • Carefully add 1/2 cup of beef broth and scrape up browned bits from bottom of skillet. Add remaining broth, tomato sauce, wine and oregano. Cook for about 5 minutes. Taste sauce & season with salt & pepper as needed.
  • Pour sauce over roast in crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  • To serve, shred if desired or slice into pieces. Top with crumbled feta and oregano.


Ham and Northern Bean Soup in a Crock Pot

25 Oct

A hearty, satisfying soup perfect to chase away the cold this season.

Time: 15 min prep, 4+ hours cook            Serves: 6


  • 1 pound Northern beans, picked over, soaked over night, drained & rinsed
  • enough water to cover beans + 2 inches
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves torn or roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup smoked ham (I used Bavarian), cubed small
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • several drops liquid smoke (I used hickory flavor)

How to make it

  • Place beans and water in crock pot with 2 bay leaves, half of rosemary, and half of salt. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4-5 hours – until tender.
  • Add remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or low 4-5 hours.
  • Remove top and cook an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

Apple Cider Beef Stew in a Crock Pot

24 Oct

The first time I made this dish was after watching an episode “The Rachael Ray Show” about a year ago when Rachael made her Autumn Beef Stew. It looked so appetizing so I decided to try it out. I have written the recipe according to the way I made it, with some of the ingredients and cooking methods altered to my needs & tastes.

Time: 1 hour prep, 4+ hours cook                   Serves: 6


  • 1 bulb garlic
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 thick strips bacon, cut into about 1-inch pieces (I used applewood smoked)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, cut into about 2-inch cubes (I used boneless chuck shoulder Texas broil, trimmed of excess fat) – patted dry
  • 3 large carrots, sliced on an angle into 2-inch chunks
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 apple, chopped (I used Honeycrisp)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 apple cider
  • 3 cups beef stock (I used 3 cups water + 3 tsp Better Than Bouillon)
  • 1/4 cup cold water + 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed (“slurry”)

How to make it

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cut ends of garlic bulb to expose cloves. Drizzle with oil and season with salt & pepper. Wrap in foil.
  • Roast 45 minutes. Allow to cool somewhat before handling.
  • Carefully squeeze garlic into a small bowl. Add a splash of apple cider and mash into a paste.
  • Season beef cubes liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp flour and toss to coat.
  • Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp on both sides. Transfer to paper towel lined plate.
  • Add 1 tbsp butter to skillet. Once melted, add beef cubes to skillet. Cook until crisp and deep brown on each side, in batches if necessary (once first batch is done, transfer to plate with bacon). Add more butter as needed, 1/2 tbsp at a time.
  • Once all beef is browned & transferred, add 1 tbsp butter to skillet. Add carrot, apple, celery, and onion to skillet. Cook to soften for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp flour & toss to coat.
  • Combine remaining apple cider with beef stock. Mix in garlic paste.
  • Place browned beef, bacon and veggies into crock pot. Add cider mixture and bay leaves.
  • Cook on low for 4-5 hours until beef is tender. Thicken with cornstarch slurry if needed.
  • Serve with Light and Creamy Mashed Potatoes (increase recipe by half to yield 6 servings) or similar.

Pulled Beef in a Crock Pot

9 Feb

Recently I bought a couple chuck shoulders b/c they were on special but I had no clue what to do with them. I knew slow-cooking would make the tough cuts tender and when I found a recipe in Taste of Home for brisket bells went off. This is based on that recipe by Jane Guilbeau with personal modifications.

Time: 10min prep, 5hr cook             Serves: 4-5


  • 1 1.5-2 lb boneless beef chuck shoulder Texas broil or similar
  • 2 cups water + 2 beef bouillon or 2 cups beef stock
  • 3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp Sriracha or hot sauce of your choice

How to make it

  • Place beef in crock pot.
  • In a small bowl, combine water & bouillon/stock with Worcestershire, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, mustard, cayenne, and garlic salt. Whisk well to combine. Pour 2/3 mixture over beef, reserving 1/3 in fridge for sauce.
  • Cover crock and cook on low for 5 hours, or until meat is tender.
  • Remove from cooker and carefully shred with 2 forks, return and heat through.
  • Place refrigerated mixture in a small sauce pan. Add ketchup, sugar, butter and hot sauce. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer uncovered for 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve beef topped with sauce. Makes great sandwiches but serve as you please!

Beefy Short Ribs in a Crock Pot

20 Nov

We discovered a couple years back that a local bar & grill serves up a delicious short rib dinner special during the cooler months and we have quite a few of those in Michigan! This is my interpretation of that meal.

Time: 15min prep, 4+hours cook         Serves: 4


  • 3 pounds beef short ribs (the meatier the better)
  • 1/2 cup flour + 2-3 tbsp
  • salt to taste (I used about 3/4 tsp)
  • pepper to taste (I used about 1/3 tsp)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup red wine (I used a Merlot/Malbec blend, anything is fine as long as it’s not sweet)
  • 2  cups beef stock
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic/red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

How to make it

  • Combine flour with salt & pepper in a pie plate or similar. Dredge short ribs.
  • Heat oil in large skillet. Brown short ribs on all sides then transfer to crock pot. (See note.)
  • Arrange chopped onions, garlic cloves, and thyme sprigs in between and around ribs.
  • Combine wine, stock, vinegar, Worcestershire and sugar and mix to combine. Pour over ribs. They should just be covered in liquid, if needed add a bit of water.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. I cooked on high for 3 hours and low for 2 hours and they came out perfectly tender but not falling off the bone b/c ‘s we prefer them with a bit of chew.
  • Remove crock pot from cooker and ladle 2 cups of liquid into a small stock pot. Skim the top and dispose of fat. Add 2-3 tbsp and whisk well until smooth and thickened to desired consistency.

*Note: After lots of deliberation with my buddies on the cooking community site GroupRecipes, I’d say that the first step may not be necessary. You may also just season the ribs with s&p and place in crock pot without browning first. It’s up to you 🙂

I served this with garlic mashed purple potatoes with gravy over top along with carrots, zucchini and red onion simply sauteed in butter and seasoned with s&p (started the carrots first).

Tangy Chicken Thighs in a Crock Pot

29 Oct

A quick dish that yields tender, flavorful chicken with a tangy tomato based sauce. I served this with rice.

Time: 15min prep, 6 hour cook            Serves: 4


  • 1 14oz can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cups carrots, diced/sliced
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary, crumbled
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • 2 tbsp orange zest, divided
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

How to make it

  • Combine first 12 ingredients & half of orange zest in crock pot. Mix thoroughly. Nestle chicken thighs in mixture. Cook on low for 6 hours, until chicken is cooked through. Stir in lemon juice and remaining orange zest. Sprinkle with bacon & serve.