Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole

As you have probably figured out by now, I love to be able to throw something in the slow cooker and forget about it… I also love Mexican (or really Tex-Mex) type foods. A friend posted this one (one of those 30-second videos) on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and I have been salivating about it ever since.

When I finally sat down and looked at the recipe, really it was all kinds of wrong. It had no building blocks of flavor. No onions (WHAT?)… chicken, cans of sauce, cheese and olives. Also, it had the chicken cooking for an insane amount of time. Unnecessary.

So when I went to the store to buy the ingredients, I stood in the Ethnic aisle and pondered. I decided to stick with the cans of enchilada sauce and I also picked up cans of green chiles (I opted for mild for the first go-round). I also grabbed an onion and went for 2 kinds of cheese. I nabbed some green onions and sour cream for garnish and decided that this would jazz this dish up to a whole other level.

Trust me, my friends (one in particular) will tell you that I am a suck for these videos but that even I will break my rule of following the recipe the first time when I know it is all wrong. Every great chef will tell you that you need the basics in any dish – and wether it is the French, the Spanish, the Mexican or even the Russians (okay maybe a bad example), pretty much everyone uses onions as a starting point. Take the time and give that dish some depth. This dish was still incredibly simple.

9servedYields 6 to 8 servings
Adapted From somewhere on the interwebs

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Pound chicken breast, boneless, skinless
38 Ounce(wt)s enchilada sauce
1 Medium onion, white chopped
9 Ounce(wt)s chiles, green canned drained
11 Ounce(wt)s tortilla, corn, small cut into thick strips
1 Cup cheese, cheddar sharp grated divided
4 1/2 Ounce(wt)s olives, black sliced, drained, divided
2 Cups cheese, Mexican, grated
1/2 Cup sour cream for garnish
1 Bunch onion, green diced

Tools Needed:
Crock-Pot 6.5-Quart, Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker
ZYLISS Lock N’ Lift Can Opener

Directions:
Put the chicken breasts, onion, green chiles and the enchilada sauce in your slow cooker.
1chickenandonions
2withsauce

Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

Remove the chicken and shred with 2 forks and put the shredded meat back into the sauce.
3shredded

Cut the tortillas into strips and then cut the strips in half.
4choppedtortillas

Add the tortillas to chicken and sauce.
5addedcheese

Stir.  Add cheddar cheese and half the olives into the sauce and chicken mixture. Stir again until well combined.
6stirred

Flatten the mixture slightly. Add the Mexican cheese (2 cups) and the other half of the olives on top.
7topped

Cook on low for about 40 to 60 minutes longer.
8finished

Scoop into bowls and serve with sour cream and diced green onions on top.

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Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

IMG_2544Yields 4 to 5 servings
From Tasty.com

Ingredients:
1 Large bell pepper, red sliced
1 Large bell pepper, yellow sliced
1 Large bell pepper, green sliced
1 Large onion, white sliced
2 Pounds chicken breast, boneless, skinless cut in half
2 Tbls seasoning, taco
6 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
1 Each lime
10 Ounce(wt)s tomatoes, diced, with green chiles drained (Rotel)
12 Each tortilla, flour, 8 inch
1 Cup cheese, Mexican blend
1/2 Cup sour cream

Directions:
Add half of the sliced peppers and onions to your slow cooker.

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Next, layer the chicken and coat all sides with taco seasoning. Top with garlic, tomatoes (be sure to drain) and the juice from one lime.
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Add the remaining peppers and onions, cover, and cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.
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Remove chicken and cut/shred into slices (chicken left longer will tend to shred more – cook to your preference).
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Return the sliced chicken to the slow cooker to marinate in the juices for about 10 more minutes (on LOW) until ready to serve.
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If you find that there is too much liquid, you can remove till there is a desired amount before serving. Assemble Fajitas to your liking – we recommend topping with cheese, sour cream, and guacamole! Enjoy!
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Slow Cooker Corn and Potato Chowder

When it’s cold, I just want to break out the slow cooker and make soups, stews, chilis, or all of the above. This one seemed easy enough and combined all the starchy goodness of potatoes and sweet corn and had smokey bacon for good measure.

Originally, it only wanted a quart of stock, but alas, that was not enough for the amount of vege in the cooker. The cooker kept shutting off, actually. So I added in more and found it worked out well. I decided to blend all of the soup and left it only a smidge lumpy as I felt it needed to have a bit of texture. If you really wanted it smooth, I would put it through a strainer before you add the half and half, but be prepared to be patient.

The flavor is spot on, but due to the starch level, you will need to add salt. It does absorb a lot. I’d also suggest rinsing the potatoes before cooking them – that will help a great deal.

Note: You can opt for vegetable stock, bypass the bacon and make this vegetarian very easily!

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Yields 3 to 4 Quarts
From Pinterest

Ingredients:
8 Ounce(wt)s bacon, cooked, drained & crumbled
2 1/2 Pounds potatoes, Russet not peeled, 1/4-in cubes
8 Cups corn, frozen (I used half white and half yellow)
1 Large onion, white finely chopped
1 Cup celery chopped (about 5 stalks)
8 Cloves garlic, fresh crushed
1/2 tsp salt, seasoning
48 Ounce(fl)s broth, low-sodium chicken
16 Ounce(fl)s half and half
1 to taste salt and pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients EXCEPT half & half in the slow cooker.
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Cook on LOW for 10 hours or HIGH for 6 hours.

Blend the soup using an immersion blender (or just scoop it into your upright blender or food processor in batches then return to slow cooker).

Add half and half or heavy cream and continue cooking, uncovered, for about another 15 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Kung Pao Chicken

So the Cook90 Challenge continues and I ate up all my taco bowls, so it was time for something new. I needed to shop for the new week, so it was time to break out the Slow Cooker. If you have read my blog, you know I am a big fan. Yes, I own the Instant Pot, but my Slow Cooker is my jam.

This was super easy, but the original recipe was pretty poorly written as execution was a mess. I had to add water a couple of times to the recipe and was thankful I didn’t just leave my house with it running – and it was on LOW! I’ve fixed the recipe and made adjustments where needed. This recipe turned out great and frankly I felt it could use a big more vege for my tastes. So feel free to add a couple of bell peppers instead of just the one, or even throw in a couple of rainbow carrots sliced on the bias.

I went with regular jasmine rice for this one, but brown jasmine is also a favorite of mine.I also had both black and white sesame seeds, so I tossed them both in for color.

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Yields 6 servings
From the unknown interwebs, but edited to make it work

Ingredients:
2/3 Cups cornstarch
1/4 tsp pepper, black, ground
1 Pound chicken breast, boneless, skinless cut into bite sized chunks
2 to 4 Tbls oil, olive
4 Each pepper, ancho, dried asian peppers
2/3 Cups peanuts, roasted
1 Large bell pepper, red bite sized pieces
1 Large squash, zucchini sliced in half moons
1/2 Cup soy sauce, low sodium
1/3 Cup water
3 Tbls honey
3 Tbls hoisin sauce
3 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
1 tsp ginger root grated
1/4 tsp pepper, crushed red
2 Tbls cornstarch
3 Tbls water
2 Cups rice, jasmine (cooked)
2 tsp sesame seeds, white
2 Each onion, green chopped

Directions:

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
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In a large zip-top bag, toss in chicken, cornstarch and black pepper. Shake until well-coated.
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Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until lightly browned. Make sure to cook the chicken in at least two batches depending on the size of your skillet. Cooking too much of the protein at once will cool down the pan and cause the meat to steam. You want the meat to get a great crust on it.
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Transfer chicken into the slow cooker.
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In a medium bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, water, honey, hoisin sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper chili flakes. Combine well.
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Pour soy mixture over chicken in the slow cooker. Add 2 cups water. Stir well.
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Cover and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 to 4 hours or HIGH for 1 1/2 to 3 hours.

About 30 minutes before serving, whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and stir into the slow cooker if the mixture in the slow cooker is very liquidy – if not, then skip this step altogether.

Toss in the dried red chili peppers (if you cannot find these, just add another 1/8 tsp of crushed red pepper), red bell peppers, zucchini and peanuts, stirring to combine. Cover and cook on HIGH for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the sauce has thickened up.
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Sprinkle with sesame seeds, green onions and serve over zoodles, cauliflower rice, quinoa or your favorite rice.
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For meal prep
Divide rice evenly into lunch containers. Add chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds, cover and store in fridge for up to 4 days.
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Slow Cooker Balsamic Pot Roast

Cold weather means comfort food. Threats of snow storms and being shut in, means large meals that will last for days. I’m going to break out my slow cooker every time. Soups, stews, roasts.

Now, in Georgia, these threats are usually just blown out of proportion and I laugh them off. But I’ll still go to the store days ahead and buy the supplies for just such a meal. I mean, why not, right? Now, I’m a fan of my mother’s pot roast and I need no excuse to make it. But I’m always on the hunt for a new one to try. This one intrigued me for many reasons, but I was sold at the thought of balsamic vinegar and red wine.

I mostly followed the recipe – but I cheated and used baby carrots and baby gold potatoes. I work from home and am pretty busy this month. So I didn’t have the time on a Friday morning to do all the prep work on the carrots and potatoes to peel and prep. Short cuts should never make you feel ashamed, especially for a slow cooker recipe. Also, the grocery never has a 1.5 pound chuck roast. So all I did was increase the amounts of veggies to match the size of the roast… and of course doubled the garlic because I’m me.

This turned out great and will probably be stew by Sunday. Also, because I’m me.

pot-roast

Yields 6 servings
Adapted from Delish

Ingredients:
3 Tbls oil, extra virgin olive
2 1/2 Pounds beef, chuck roast trimmed
1 Tbls salt, Kosher
1 Tbls pepper, black, coarsely ground
10 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
1 Large onion, white cut into 1-inch dice
1/4 Cup vinegar, balsamic
3 Tbls sugar, light brown, packed
1 Pound carrots, baby
24 Small potatoes, Yukon gold creamer
5 Sprigs thyme, fresh
1 Each bay leaves
2 Cups stock, chicken, low-sodium
1 Cup wine, dry red
2 Tbls cornstarch
1/2 Cup water
2 Tbls parsley, flat-leaf chopped

Tools Needed:
KitchenAid 6-Qt. Slow Cooker with Standard Lid
Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press
OXO Good Grips 11-Inch Balloon Whisk

Directions:

Mix together your salt and pepper in a small bowl – this will prevent any cross-contamination in your normal salt and pepper containers.
saltandpepper

Dry meat with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper all over.
season-beef

Don’t forget to season the sides as well.
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In a large sauté pan over high heat warm 1 tbsp olive oil. Sear on all sides until a deep golden crust forms, about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
sear-beef1

Also, make sure you sear the sides because brown food tastes good!
sear-beef2

Transfer meat to the slow cooker bowl.

Return pan to medium heat and add 1 tsp olive oil. Sauté garlic and onions for 2 minutes.
sauteonions

Deglaze with balsamic vinegar. Simmer on low until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Scrape bottom with a wooden spoon to remove all bits of meat. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
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Pour mixture over meat in slow cooker. Add carrots, potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, chicken stock and red wine. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
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Remove bay leaf and thyme branches. Plate the beef and veggies on a plater.
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Pour sauce into a small saucepan.
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Make a slurry with the cornstarch and water, Bring sauce to a boil and slowly whisk and pour in the slurry and cook about 2 minutes on boiling until thickened.

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Serve gravy on the side. Garnish with parsley, if desired, and serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Cheesy Brussels Sprout Dip

brusselsdip

From Tasty.com
Yields 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients:
2 Cups cheese, cheddar white shredded
2 Cups cheese, Gruyere shredded
2 Tbls cornstarch
8 Ounce(wt)s cheese, cream regular
2 Cups milk, whole
2 Large shallots diced
7 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
2 Pounds brussels sprouts finely chopped
1 To taste cooking spray, vegetable oil
1 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated
1 To taste salt & pepper
1 Large bread, baguette

Tools Needed:
Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker SCVT650-PS, 6.5-Quart, Silver
Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press
Farberware Nonstick Bakeware 10-Inch x 15-Inch Cookie Pan, Gray

Directions:
In a slow-cooker combine white cheddar, gruyère, and cornstarch. Mix until the cornstarch has evenly coated all of the cheese.

Add cream cheese, milk, shallots, and garlic. Stir until evenly mixed. Turn slow-cooker on low and allow the cheese to melt, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Cut each sprout in half, then finely slice. Place on a large cookie sheet, well spread out. Spray with cooking spray and a little salt. Heat oven to 425 degrees and roast for 10 to 15 minutes until starting to caramelize – do not over cook. Make sure to move them around once during cooking. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to add to the slow cooker.

Mix the cheese mixture and ensure that the cheese has fully melted and combined. Add the Brussels sprouts and mix in. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Keep the slow-cooker on low for 20 to 30 minutes until the dip has completely married. Meanwhile, slice baguette, spray with oil and toast in 350-degree oven for 5 to 7 minutes.

Set slow-cooker to “keep warm” and serve with sliced and toasted baguette or crackers.

 

Slow Cooker Spicy BBQ Baby Back Ribs

12710742_10153840561952978_2598098850260251424_oFrom Tasty.Com

Ingredients:
2 Cups sauce, barbecue (I used Sticky Fingers Memphis Original)
1/4 Cup sugar, light brown, packed
1/4 Cup vinegar, cider
1 Tbls oregano, dried
1/2 Tbls Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tbls pepper, cayenne
1 Tbls chili powder
3 lbs baby back pork ribs (1 slab, cut in half)
salt and pepper to taste

Tools Needed:
Crock-Pot Programmable Touchscreen Slow Cooker SCVT650-PS, 6.5-Quart, Silver
Simply Calphalon Nonstick 1-Quart Sauce Pan

Directions:
Combine bbq sauce, brown sugar, cider vinegar, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, and chili powder in a small bowl, whisk until combined.

Salt and pepper the ribs. Place ribs in slow cooker, and cover in sauce. Cook low and slow for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Move to the oven on a baking sheet, 375 degrees, for 10 minutes to finish.

Move the sauce into a saucepan and reduce for 10 minutes over medium high heat.  Cut the ribs, serve with bbq sauce.