Crockpot Lasagna

This is an easy and delicious version of lasagna that can be made in the slow cooker. It only takes about 3 1/2 hours to fully cook so plan your time accordingly so it doesn’t burn. Also, I should warn you that this is not a low-fat/low-carb kind of meal, but it is warm and filling and so very lovely for a weeknight dinner. All you have to do is prep the meat and then let the crockpot do the rest of the work. Serve with a salad and some yummy garlic bread.

crockpotlaz

Crockpot Lasagna

1 lb. ground meat

1/4 cup onion, chopped fine

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

salt & pepper to taste

28 oz. pasta sauce

10 oz. tomato sauce

16 oz. alfredo sauce

1 pkg oven ready lasagna noodles

2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

1 cup shredded parmesan blend

1. Brown meat with the onion, herbs, garlic powder, and salt & pepper. Drain off any grease and put in 2/3 of the pasta sauce and about 8 oz. of the tomato sauce. Combine well and heat through.

2. Spray the inside of your crockpot and put the remaining 1/3 of the pasta sauce into the bottom. Layer over the sauce 1/3 of the noodles, breaking the pieces to fit as best as you can over the entire bottom of the crock pot. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

3. Pour 1/3 of the alfredo sauce on top of the noodles, then 1/3 of the Mozzarella cheese. Spread 1/3 of the meat mixture over this.

4. Layer this way two more times: noodles, alfredo, mozzarella, and meat mixture. Any leftover tomato sauce should be added to these layers as well to fill in any gaps.

5. Top it all with the parmesan cheese blend then cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours.

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Pizza Buns

Clearly I have a thing for versions of pizza, but who doesn’t love pizza?? As long as I continue to find different ways to put the same ingredients together the boys will not get bored with their lunches, and so today I have yet another pizza idea for you.

pizzabuns

Pizza Buns

1 package pizza crust*

pizza sauce

mozzarella cheese**

turkey pepperoni

1. Roll out the pizza dough on a heavily-floured surface. *I found some awesome pre-made pizza dough balls at Trader Joe’s in the meat and cheese section. This is way better than the canned stuff if you can’t make homemade dough.

2. Spoon some pizza sauce over the surface of the dough, then place pepperoni all over- as much or as little as you like. (Too much will make it hard to roll up the dough. Mini pepperoni seem to work best but turkey pepperoni only comes in regular size that I’ve found.)

3. Place about a 1-inch squared piece of mozzarella near the bottom of the dough, **or sprinkle shredded cheese over the bottom 3/4 of the dough.

4. Carefully roll up the dough and seal the ends over.

5. Cut into 1-inch slices and place in greased muffin tins.

6. Bake at 350* for about 20 minutes, or until browned. Makes a dozen buns.

7. Serve with extra pizza sauce on the side.

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Oven Baked Potato Wedges

These potato wedges were easy and a perfect starchy side to just about any meal. I made these last night to go with some grilled Sirloin steaks and roasted brussles sprouts- and it was a hit. All you need is a little bit of prep time and you can enjoy these wedges any time.

*I buy the 5 lb bags of smaller russets. These are typically the size of your hand. I think these are better than full-sized baking potatoes because you get a smaller, crispier wedge.

pot wedges

Oven Baked Potato Wedges

6 russet potatoes

1/4 cup EVOO

1/4 tsp each: sea salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and parsley*

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1. Wash and cut potatoes into wedges. Place potatoes in a bowl of water with about 2 cups ice cubes. Let soak 30 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels.

2. Place the salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder into a large ziplock bag. Add the potato wedges and shake until coated.

3. Add the EVOO to the bag now and shake again.

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat oven to 450*. Place potatoes on baking sheet and bake for 30 -35 minutes, until cooked through and brown and crispy.

5. In a small bowl combine the parsley (*fresh parsley is best. Use about 2 T) and parmesan. Toss the cooked potatoes in the cheese and herb mixture before serving.

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Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

This chowder is a great addition to your Fall/Winter recipes. It’s warm and comforting, and offers a little kick for those who like to take their meals up a notch.

chipotlechowder

Chipotle Chicken and Corn Chowder

1 can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, divided

2 T unsalted butter

1 poblano pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp thyme

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 T flour

3 cups whole milk

2 cups chicken broth

6 small red potatoes, peeled and diced

4 oz. Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

4 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups cooked chicken, diced

2 cups frozen corn (or fresh)

1 cup crushed tortilla chips

2 T lime juice

fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

1. Remove one chile from the can and mince it. Remove 1 tsp adobo sauce and set aside. Save and freeze remainder of chiles and sauce in can for another use.

2. Melt the butter in a large soup pot and add poblano, red bell, and chile pepper, along with the thyme, oregano, and cumin. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until peppers are softened. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute or until it becomes fragrant.

3. Stir in flour and cook 1 more minute. Slowly stir in the milk and the broth, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the potatoes, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

5. Add the cheeses slowly, stirring to combine well, until melted.

6. Stir in chicken, corn, tortilla chips, adobo sauce, and lime juice. Cover and cook another 10 minutes on low.

7. Serve immediately. If you refrigerate leftovers the chowder may need to be thinned out with a bit of milk.

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Pot Roast Sliders with Creamy Chipotle Sauce

AH.MAZ.ING.

And super easy because it’s all done in the crock pot. All you have to do is put everything in and just …..wait. And smell. And expect to be very, very hungry by the time it’s ready because this stuff will tease you. Seriously.

Okay, I have to confess something. You know how slow cooker recipes will give you an approximate cooking time for low vs high heat? Well, in the case of slow cooking poultry I have to say that it’s almost always on target. But for beef roasts and the like, well, when I give a cooking time in my recipes, they really are more of just a guideline. And I’ll even tell you why. When I cook a beef roast I always, ALWAYS opt for the lowest setting. This makes for the tenderest meat. This is especially important when you’re aiming for meat that falls apart, which I usually am. I don’t know about you but a lot of the time my recipes aren’t ready in 6 to 8 hours, and sometimes not even in 8 to 10. Of course, sometimes it just depends on the cut of meat, but case in point,  I literally had to leave this in the crock pot for about 15 hours until it was tender enough to shred with two forks. And it was worth it. So don’t be afraid to let it simmer all day.

*UPDATE 11/6/13: I’ve since made this with a venison tenderloin cut into medalions, served over brown rice and it was *~*AWESOME*~* (imagine me singing that) Also, I made the creamy chipotle sauce for those of us who wanted to stir it in….yeah….it was fabulous. So if you’ve got deer meat, don’t be afraid to try this recipe- you will not be sorry!

 

potroastsliders

Pot Roast Sliders 

3.5 – 4 lb. beef roast

1 envelope Italian dressing mix

1 envelope onion soup mix

1 envelop au jus mix (or 2 T beef boullion)

1 cup water

1 cup salsa

swiss cheese, sliced

Small rolls (I used mini kaiser buns)

1. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and place roast inside. Combine the 3 envelopes of mixes with the water and salsa well and then pour over the meat. Set on low and give it at least 8 hours. Turn the meat every 2 hours or so, allowing each side to simmer in the juices.

2. Once the meat is tender enough, shred it and return to the slow cooker.

3. To assemble the sandwiches, split a hawaiian roll, or bread of your choice. On the bottom half place a slice of swiss cheese. On the top half smear some creamy chipotle sauce, then place desired amount of shredded beef in between.

4. Nom nom nom.

Creamy Chipotle Sauce

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tsp sriracha chili sauce

1 tsp horseradish or horseradish sauce

 Combine these ingredients well and allow time to chill in refrigerator. Make extra if you like a lot of sauce 🙂

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Lemon, Wild Rice & Meatball Soup

This is a light and very tasty soup that you could make just about any time of the year, but is perfect for a chilly Fall night. Serve it up with some Rosemary Grilled Cheese sandwiches, or a salad, or just some yummy, crusty bread of your choice.

lemon-meatballsoup

Lemon, Wild Rice & Meatball Soup

1 lb. ground chicken or turkey

1 large egg, slightly beaten

1/4 cup panko or other fine bread crumbs

1 tsp salt, plus additional to taste

4 tsp lemon zest, divided

1 tsp rosemary, divided

2 T EVOO

1 medium onion, chopped fine

3 carrots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

64 oz. chicken broth

4 T lemon juice

3 cups wild rice blend, cooked

1. To make the meatballs combine the ground meat with the egg, panko,1 tsp salt, 2 tsp lemon zest, and 1/2 tsp rosemary. Roll into 1-inch balls and bake on lined cookie sheet at 350* for 20-30 minutes.

2. Heat EVOO over medium-high heat and saute onion, carrots, and garlic for 10 minutes, until soft. Add in remaining zest and rosemary and cook a minute longer.

3. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, salt to taste, and meatballs to the veggies. Simmer for at least 15 minutes. Longer is fine.

4. Add in the wild rice. You can continue to simmer until ready to eat, or serve immediately.

5. Top with some Parmesan cheese and additional rosemary, if desired.

*A great addition: Oven Roasted Okra. Seriously. It. Was. Awesome. Try it 🙂

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Chicken Dumplings (Pot Stickers)

These were fun to put into the boys’ lunches and not particularly difficult to make either. It only took a little bit of patience. I left out some of the ingredients because I knew they’d prefer it plain, but the entire recipe is here for you to customize it as you’d like.

chixdumplings

Chicken Dumplings

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 lb cooked chicken, chopped fine

1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage

1/2 tsp sesame oil

20 wonton wrappers

1. Mix soy sauce, ginger, and 1 T water.

2. Pulse chicken in food processor if you have one, until ground.

3. Mix cabbage, chicken, soy sauce mixture, sesame oil, and up to 2T extra water if needed.

4. Divide mixture among the wrappers.  Brush edges of wonton wrappers with water and press the four corners at the top, creating a seal.

5. Steam 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with extra soy sauce.

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Baking Halloween and Fall Treats

Hey everyone. Today I have a guest post written by Sarah over at Little Bertha @ http://www.littlebertha.com.au. So here you go…

Baking Halloween and Fall Treats:

With each new season comes a new excuse to indulge in the delights of the weather. While winter and fall may bring back some dreary damp days, making it a struggle to make it to work in the morning, it does offer some very delicious dessert options to help warm our hearts and souls. My favourite part of fall is the bright red, oranges and yellows that brighten up the sidewalks and the way that these colours end up on our plates with the help of seasonal pumpkins and apples. With this in mind I have a quick and easy Halloween cupcake recipe to get you excited for the annual festivities.

halloween spider cupcake

For the Halloween cupcakes, you have two options. You can either make simple vanilla cupcakes with a little orange colouring to give it that orange glow, or go the extra mile and make pumpkin spiced cupcakes, you can find the recipe for that here. Once your cupcakes are in the oven, make a batch of cream cheese frosting:

60g of cream cheese, softened

30g butter, softened

dash of vanilla essence

¾ cup icing sugar, adjusted as needed

Once the cupcakes have cooled, slather on the frosting with a butter knife and smooth it over the top. With a black decorator pen (these are small tubes filled with icing, you can buy them from most home ware stores), draw about 4 concentric circles. Using a toothpick drag a line from the middle to the edge of the cupcake, through the circles. Repeat this about 5 times, until you have a spider web pattern on the top of your cupcake. Top with gummy spiders or make your own with liquorice. Winner Halloween treat!

Other fall dessert ideas include the all important Pumpkin Pie, no fall season would be complete without one, and any recipe that includes the flavours of maple, walnuts, pecans or warming alcohol like whiskey and bourbon. Little Bertha have a great Maple, Walnut and Bourbon tart that is perfect treat for a fall day.

apple pie tarts

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Buffalo Chicken Burgers

I made these into sliders, but they obviously can be regular sized burgers.  Plus, the kids always seem to enjoy the mini versions better, too.

The buns I used for these were actually hand-sized rolls, which I cut in half length-wise.  They were the perfect size for my 2 oz. patties.  This recipe makes 10 sliders or 4 regular burgers.  Also, I am not big on bleu cheese so we used crumbled feta.   It was delish!

buffalo1

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

1 lb. ground chicken (*I used turkey)

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 egg

1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Salt & pepper

1/2 tsp dill weed

1 tsp fresh parsley

2 Tbs EVOO

Burger buns

Buffalo sauce

ranch dressing

bleu cheese or feta crumbles

tomato, sliced

slices mozzarella cheese

buffalo2

1.  Combine meat, chopped onion, panko, garlic, egg, salt & pepper, and herbs.  Form into patties and set aside as you preheat the skillet and EVOO over medium heat.

2. Cook about 10 minutes on each side (for regular sized patties).  After they are fully cooked, add some buffalo sauce to the pan and cook the burgers an additional minute on each side.

3. On the bottom half of the bun spread some ranch dressing, topping with cheese crumbles and tomato slices.

4. Place chicken burger on the tomato and add a slice of mozzarella cheese.   Put on the top half of the bun.

5. Serve with extra buffalo sauce, with carrot and celery sticks on the side.

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Corndog Muffins

Since we stopped eating pork nearly 10 years ago there have been several food items that we just don’t eat anymore. One of them being the corn dog. Now, I won’t lie and say I’ve particularly missed this food, though it was a favorite at carnivals (sooo greasy and delicious!) However, now that nitrate-free, all-natural hotdogs made of beef and turkey are more readily available, I don’t see why we can’t indulge in a corn dog or two. And since I’ve been working on some great lunchbox ideas for the boys, this muffin version seemed pretty perfect.

*I made these ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The next day  packed them into lunch containers with a side of ketchup. No reheating necessary and by the time lunch came around the muffins were warmed up a little and a bit softer.

corndog muffins

Corndog Muffins

1 1/3 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1 T baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup flour (I used my 1/2 & 1/2 mix)

2 eggs

1 1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup butter, melted

3 hotdogs, sliced thin

1. Preheat oven to 425*

2. In medium bowl combine cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and flour.

3. In another bowl whisk together milk, eggs, and butter.

4. Stir milk mixture into cornmeal mixture just until moistened.

5. Stir in hotdog slices.

6. Spoon corn dog mixture into muffin tins (foil liners work best) 2/3 full.

7. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

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