Thursday, February 28, 2013

Slow Cooker Burrito Beans

This recipe is supposed to mimic refried beans, without having to use the stove. They take quite a long time on high heat, so need to be started very early, or done on low the night before.
  • 3 c dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 small onion, cut in half
  • 5 cl garlic, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 3 t salt
  • 1 t fresh ground pepper
  • 1 t cumin
  • 9 c water
  1. Place onion, jalapeno, beans, garlic, salt, pepper and cumin in slow cooker. Pour in water and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on high for 8 hours (or start night before on low).
  3. Pull out beans by strainer to serving bowl, leaving liquid in slow cooker. Mash with potato masher, adding liquid as needed for desired consistency.
  4. Serve as filler for burritos. Freeze leftovers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tomato Basil Soup with Cheese Dumplings

Made this for dinner and had leftovers for 2 lunches. Originally served with lettuce wraps*. Leftovers heated up with leftover meatballs and ate with toast. The cheese dumplings make this soup much more filling than it would be alone. There end up being quite a few dumplings - I could see cutting that part in half, or just doubling the soup and it all being fine. Soup = ***, Dumplings = ****
  • 4 cl garlic, diced
  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 3 c broth
  • 1/2 c fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 c ricotta
  • 1 c parmesan
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 c flour (or less when in Canada)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot. Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes, about 1 min, until fragrant.
  2. Add in the whole can of tomatoes, broth, basil, 1/2 t salt and some pepper. Stir and bring to boil. Reduce heat.
  3. Simmer for 7-8 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the cheeses, eggs, flour, salt and pepper. Stir just until dough forms.
  5. When soup is done simmering, roll dough into small balls (~48) and drop into simmering soup. Cook for about 2-5 minutes until cooked through (depending on size...better to go smaller than what I did in the picture). Note: keep at a simmer only as boiling might make the dumplings fall apart.

Turkey Cranberry Apple Cheese Meatballs

I could only find sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins) so went with that instead of the unsweetened called for in the original recipe. They definitely came out with a sweet kick - which was ok, though if using Craisins again I'd probably reduce the amount so it wouldn't be so sweet. The cheese disappears in the final result so can be left out altogether if needed.
  • 0.6 kg extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 t rosemary
  • 1 green apple, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 c grated extra sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 c dried unsweetened cranberries (or 1/4 c sweetened)
  • ~1/2 c dried breadcrumbs
  1. In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients. It will be very wet.
  2. Make golf-ball sized meatballs and drop into 4.5 qt crockpot, layering up as needed.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours or high for half the time. (Mine started lightly browning after 2.5 hours and the ones close to the sides starting getting very dark brown after 5 hours.)
  4. Serve with rice/quinoa and green beans.
  5. Leftovers may be frozen.


Can be baked in oven instead of cooked in slow cooker. 375F for 25 min

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Easy Slow Cooker Meatballs and Sauce

Made this today in a rush - sauce came out tasty but meatballs needed more spices. Served with spaghetti. Could use leftovers to make meatball sandwiches. Worth trying again and adjusting the spices and flavorings. Definitely was easy as it was. Most other recipes require cooking meatballs separately. This is done all in the slow cooker. The risk is a greasier sauce. There was minimal grease in mine - I was able to spoon off some extra liquid/grease from the top.
  • 1.5 lb (extra) lean ground beef
  • 1/4 c parmesan (increase to 1/3)
  • spices: parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, rosemary, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, etc
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c - 2/3 c breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 can (28 oz) crushed tomato
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 T parmesan* (or more?)
  • more spices* (same as above, generous pinches of everything)
  • optional: diced carrot
  • optional: 1/3 c red wine
  1. Mix beef with parmesan, generous amount of spices, garlic and egg. Add in breadcrumbs until desired consistency.
  2. Pour crushed tomatoes and sauce in 4.5 quart slow cooker. Add in sugar, parmesan and pinches of spices (and optional carrot). Stir.
  3. Divide beef mixture into 16-20 pieces and roll into balls. Place in slow cooker and stir to cover with sauce.
  4. Cook on low 6-8 hours.


- add in tomato puree to thicken sauce
- add minced onion to meatball mixture
- use homemade sauce instead of store bought
- use mixture of beef, sausage, turkey, etc
- use fattier meat, at the risk of greasier sauce. To counter it, you could prebake the meatballs at 350 F...but then it wouldn't really be an "easy" slow cooker recipe anymore.
- make meatballs night before, then throw in sauce ingredients next day to cook.