Tag Archives: slow cooker

Slow Cooker Pot Roast and Brussels Sprouts

29 Dec

I am really enjoying experimenting with my new slow cooker. I see why people start cooking this way. It’s all prep and then let it work its magic for a few hours… then when the timer is up, a hot meal is all done.  Fantastic.

So it seemed like the perfect place to make a pot roast.  I really had no idea what I was doing, so I decided to wing it.

I threw a roast in some chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce, added onions, and topped with ketchup.


(Yes… I stirred it all together before turning it on)

It smelled AMAZING while it was cooking.


We paired it with the brussels sprouts that we love to make (Recipe at the bottom of this post).  This would make the time that I learned that the brussels in brussels sprouts is actually plural.  Nearly 30 years and I never knew that.  Learn something new everyday!


The onions with this were fantastic.  The meat itself was good, but no “Grandma’s Pot Roast.”  I may try to cook it a bit longer next time as it wasn’t as soft as I would have liked it to be.  But it sure was easy!


Spaghetti Squash and Slow Cooker Pears

19 Nov

I feel like I am already at the tail end of this incredible cacophony of  support for the long neglected spaghetti squash.  I first encountered this awesome veggie about 8 years ago, and when I found out that it has ZERO Weight Watchers Points for a whole cup, I had to make it part of my weekly cooking.  I love squash to begin with, so having a squash that is easy to cook, can be paired with just about anything, and is good for me is pretty awesome.

How easy to cook?  I’ll tell ya.

The hardest part is cutting the sucker in half, lengthwise.  I always sharpen the big knife before going into it, however, it makes me yearn for an axe.  Once you have it split, you can just scoop out the yag and seeds from the middle (just keep those seeds for roasting!)





















I use the side of a large spoon to scrape around the opening.


After that, you put it cut side down on parchment paper, a Silpat, or slightly greased cookie sheet and just roast it up at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  A fork should easily be able to scrape out the insides.

So why do they call it spaghetti squash?

Well… what starts as a seemingly solid piece of squash winds up turning into these beautiful strands that look just like spaghetti.


And you can treat it like spaghetti and pair it with a pasta sauce, cheese, veggies or any other savory topping.  You can also make a sweet version and I’ve heard brown sugar and butter on it is especially delicious.  Personally, I’m dying to try this recipe which pairs it with maple syrup and shallots.


Another quick and easy, yet totally healthy recipe for a good dessert after you’ve had your spaghetti squash is putting a pear (or apple) in the slow cooker.  I just cored 2 apples and then put them in the crock pot.  Then I poured over some apple cider (until it came up about half way on the pears), a sprinkle of brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, then set it on low for about 4 hours until it was tender.


Topped off with a bit of homemade schlag and it was a very yummy treat.


Mike’s Birthday Dinner Part 1: Pulled Pork and Mac & Cheese Tarts

15 Nov

Since it has been mostly a birthday theme lately, I figured I’d wrap it up with the meal I made for Mike on his actual birthday (as opposed to our dining at Lincoln, which was a few days later).  I asked Mike what he wanted, and while it wasn’t quite as epic an undertaking as last year, it was still fun.  He asked that I cook something I never have before.  I decided it was time to try to make pulled pork.

I got a recipe that sounded right up our alley… it involved salt and whiskey.


It requires a day of brining before preparing, so I set it up to brine in 1 cup salt, 1 cup sugar, Thyme (1 sprig), 2 shots whiskey and 1 Tbl. mustard


When I took it out the next day, it semlled awesomely like whiskey.


I rinsed the sucker off.


And popped it into my awesome slow cooker, which is definitely becoming one of my alltime favorite appliances!


I came home at lunch and added a chopped onion and some seasoning.  It was supposed to have paprika, but I’m allergic, so I went with Italian seasoning.


Then I set it on low for 8 hours and started baking cookies for dessert.  That post is to come. And yes… I baked cookies on my lunch break.  Living next to my offices is AMAZING.  And I was gone for less than 45 minutes and brought back cookies for the whole office.  Not too shabby.


When I got home from work, I immediately set out upon starting my new creation of Mac & Cheese Tarts. You may remember that I made chicken tarts in the past, but I figured it would be fun to try them with mac & cheese instead.  And what’s the first thing you have to do when making homemade mac & chee?


Grate.  I hate grating.  I don’t know why this kitchen chore drives me so nuts, but I’m always nicking my fingers or getting down to a nub that I don’t know what to do with.  On the wish list: Automatic cheese grater.

My version of homemade mac & cheese is pretty simple.  Cook pasta.  Melt in cheese of choice.  This time it was sharp cheddar.

I then took that mac and cheese and mixed it with sliced grape tomatoes, chives, and mushrooms.  I then put it in the croissant lined cups and topped it with a dash of breadcrumbs.


They baked for about 15 minutes at 375 degrees until the corners started to get brown.


Highly delectable, but would make it with more flavorful cheese next time.  For sharp cheddar, it was pretty blah.


For a quick appetizer, I found some beautiful heirloom tomatoes.


And I cut up some smoke mozzarella and topped it all with basil and a splash of olive oil.  The smoked mozzarella added an awesome pop to this.


As a side, I took some a multicolor cauliflower/broccoli pack from FreshDirect.com and roasted them up.


For some odd reason, I guess there was a chemical reaction that created a bright BLUE color.  If you look in the top right corner of the dish in the picture below, you will see it.  What on earth it was, I have no idea, but we ate it anyway.


And then… the timer went off.


It smelled so good in there. And it “pulled” very easily.  All you need are some tongs or a fork and it all just comes right off.


I put it into a bowl with the skin and fat and drippings.  MMM MMM MMM.


I baked up some pre-made, par baked bread (I still have yet to go back and try bread again after the catastrophe of the last time).


It was delicious, but I thought it tasted a wee bit better with some worcestershire sauce.  Next time, I think I’ll make a sauced pulled pork instead of a dry one.