Saturday, April 26, 2014

Crock Pot Pork Roast with Vegetables and Gravy

This is another great recipe from Jamie Cooks It Up. It's the pork roast equivalent of a pot roast and the pork comes out tender and moist. The gravy that you make from the juices is so good and would be delicious over mashed potatoes. In fact, I think next time I'll just add the onions and carrots and have mashed potatoes with it instead of the chunked potatoes, because my family thinks every roast should have mashed potatoes and gravy along-side it. This really is a great Sunday dinner and a good switch up from the regular beef roast.

Crock Pot Pork Roast with Vegetables and Gravy

1, 3 lb pork roast
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, cut into chunks
3 cups baby carrots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar

juices from roast
2 packets pork gravy mix
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1 can cream mushroom soup

Heat oil in a large skillet. Brown the pork roast on all sides and place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place cubed potatoes, onions, and baby carrots on top. In a bowl combine minced garlic, soy sauce, balsamic dressing, water, and brown sugar; pour this mixture over the vegetables in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4-5 hours.

After cooking time remove the pork roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 5-10 minutes, then cut into slices. Remove vegetables from crockpot to a large bowl and cover with foil.

Meanwhile, prepare the gravy by pouring the juices from the crockpot through a sieve into a large saucepan. Add pork gravy packets, water, milk, and cream of mushroom soup, whisking well together. Heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Serve gravy over pork and vegetables.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Roasted Carrots and Green Beans

I could not find asparagus at any store last Friday. It was all sold out. I went to 4 stores. Wow, it was frustrating, but I did find carrots and fresh green beans so I decided to have that be our Easter veggie side dish instead. And it was wonderfully yummy. I roasted them in the oven and they came out great. You could definitely make this with asparagus instead of green beans and it would be great. Roasting vegetables really is the way to go. It's a fast, easy, and delicious way to add veggies to any meal.

Roasted Carrots and Green Beans

about 6 large carrots, cut into sticks
fresh green beans, ends trimmed
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper

Boil carrot sticks in enough water to cover for about 6 minutes or until tender. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Wash and trim green beans. In a large bowl combine carrots and green beans. Drizzle with olive oil (as much or as little as you want - I just did enough to thinly coat veggies). Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Spread vegetables out on a non-stick sprayed or greased rimmed cookie sheet. Roast at 425 degrees for 15-25 minutes or until veggies have just started to brown.
Our Easter dinner was very simple this year: cheesy ham and potato casserole, roasted veggies, and deviled eggs made from our dyed Easter eggs. Simple, but delicious.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Creamy Chicken Noodle Chowder

This is the most decadent soup I have ever made. It is SO good! The creamy broth is so smooth and rich. It really is a wonderful chicken soup, but it's much thicker than a regular soup and has diced potatoes in it, so I'm calling it a chowder. When you look at the ingredients you might be scared. Lots of butter and yep there's Cheez Whiz in it, but it's the butter and Cheez Whiz that make it so rich and creamy - trust me. I, nor your cardiologist, would not suggest making this all the time. It is certainly not healthy to consume this kind of meal regularly, but I think this could be a great once a year soup. I make homemade donuts once a year, so I think I can make this once a year too (actually I'm thinking it would be great around Christmas time). I served it with these crescent rolls and it was a meal my whole family loved. Oh, and this recipe makes a ton of soup so you can either plan on having leftovers or this is a great soup to make for your own family and also share with someone who is in need of some homey, comforting, soup.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Chowder

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
6 carrots, diced
12 cups chicken stock or broth
6 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3-4 cups cooked and cubed chicken (rotisserie chicken works great)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup flour
8 oz or about 1 cup Cheez Whiz
1/2 tablespoon chicken bouillon granules
1 teaspoon onion salt
2 cups dry egg noodles
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stock pot melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Stir and cook for about 6 - 7 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add in chicken stock, diced potatoes, and cubed chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a separate saucepan melt 1 cup butter. Add flour and whisk and cook for a minute. Add this to the large stock pot of soup, whisking in to combine with soup. Add the Cheez Whiz, chicken bouillon, and onion salt. Bring to a boil, add in noodles, and simmer for another 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until noodles are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove pot from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes before you serve.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

This is a super yummy slow cooker soup. It's rich and creamy and wonderful. I got the recipe from the cookbook 365 Days of Slow-Cooking by Karen Bellessa Petersen (a great slow cooker cookbook). My family really liked it and all four of my kids had it reheated for lunch the next day because they loved it so much. I served it with grilled cheese sandwiches and it was a delicious meal.

Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

2, 14 oz cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed bay leaves
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 cups half & half
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan
1 can spicy V8
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, garlic, oregano, 1 tablespoon dried basil, crushed bay leaves, and chicken stock to a large slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours (you can do part of the time on high if you want to speed the process up).

For a smooth soup, use an immersion blender to blend up the soup until it is the consistency you like or you can blend in batches in a blender and put back in crock pot. You can skip this step if you want a chunky soup, but my family likes smooth and creamy tomato soup.

Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour and whisk for about a minute. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of half and half. Whisking constantly bring this mixture to a simmer to thicken. Add this white sauce to the mixture in the crockpot. Add Parmesan, V8, salt, and pepper to taste to the crockpot. Stir well. Cover and cook on low for another hour. Serve with grated Parmesan on top.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Confetti Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are great, festive, chocolate chip cookies. They are a lot like these M&M cookies, which are awesome, but with sprinkles instead. They are chewy and delicious. I got the recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction. My kids thought these cookies were super fun and gobbled them up (we took some to friends, so they didn't gobble them all up :)). These would be great for a birthday party or any celebration.

Confetti Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 cup flour
1 1/4 cup boxed vanilla or yellow cake mix (190 grams if you have a scale)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugars until smooth and creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until mixed in well.

In a separate bowl combine flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Add this dry mixture to the butter mixture in the mixer and mix until well combined. Add chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, and sprinkles; mix in well.

Drop cookies onto ungreased cookies sheets, I used a regular size cookie scoop, about 2 inches apart. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes are just until the edges are very slightly golden, centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pasta e Fagioli Soup (Olive Garden Copy Cat)

Pasta e Fagioli soup is another Olive Garden staple that I love and this copy cat recipe is a great homemade version. It tastes so much like the original. It is a hearty, beefy, soup that is perfect for a cold night and it's surprising fast to put together (takes about 30 minutes). I got this recipe from I Heart Nap time and changed it just slightly. I served it with these bread sticks and some Parmesan on top and it was delicious. My whole family, including my 1 year old, gave it thumbs up.

Pasta e Fagioli Soup

1 lb hamburger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup grated carrots
1 cup chopped celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
1, 11.5 oz can V8 juice (I used spicy)
1, 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1, 15 oz can tomato sauce
4 cups chicken stock
4 teaspoons beef bouillon granules
1, 15 oz can kidney beans, undrained
1, 15 oz can great northern beans, undrained
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
2 cups ditalini pasta

In a large soup pot brown the hamburger. Add onions, carrots, and celery and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute. Add V8, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken stock, beef bouillon, kidney beans, great northern beans, red wine vinegar, basil, oregano, and thyme. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is cooked through. Serve with grated Parmesan on top.