crock pot meal

Best Crock Pot Recipes for Winter

Winter can be wonderful. It can also be warm. How, you ask? Soup, silly! And other delicious crock pot recipes. Like these:

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pot pie is typically viewed as a favorite amongst all generations; It’s simple, keeps you warm, and satisfies your hunger. Although it may seem like hard work at a distance, taking the slow cooker approach to this classic dish makes life a lot easier. And yummier.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound red potatoes, diced
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 bay leaves
1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
1 cup frozen peas
1 (16-ounce) tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
FOR THE SAUCE
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch of paprika
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

To make the sauce, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1-2 minutes.
Gradually whisk in chicken stock, thyme, basil, oregano and paprika. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce has begun to thicken, about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Lightly coat the inside of a 6-qt slow cooker with nonstick spray.
Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste, and place into the slow cooker. Add potatoes, onion, carrots and celery. Stir in chicken stock mixture and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low heat for 3-4 hours or high for 1-2 hours. Add corn and peas during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

Remove chicken thighs from the slow cooker and shred the chicken before returning to the pot with the juices. Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes.
Prepare biscuits according to package instructions.
Serve chicken immediately topped with biscuits, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Tomato, Kale, and Quinoa Soup

Tomato Kale Quinoa Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all know slow cookers are perfect for hearty stews, but soups come out just as delicious. The ingredients’ flavors mix very well simmered for a long duration. Packed with veggie goodness, this Tomato, Kale, and Quinoa Soup is a great choice for any occasion.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 (14.5-ounce) cans petite diced tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
4 cups vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Place quinoa, tomatoes, beans, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in vegetable broth and 2 cups water until well combined; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. Stir in kale until wilted. Serve immediately.

Slow Cooker Short Rib Sauce with Bucatini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there anything better than a nice big bowl of pasta? Yeah, pasta with short rib sauce. With the meat sauce cooking all day, you’re guaranteed to be drooling by the afternoon.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons canola oil
8 beef short ribs
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper

12 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beef stock
1 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese, plus more for topping

1 pound bucatini pasta, cooked

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add canola oil. Season the short ribs with the salt and pepper then lightly coat them with the flour. Add the short ribs to the pot (you may need to do this in two batches) and sear until golden on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove the short ribs and add them to the slow cooker.

Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, paste, beef stock and red wine to the slow cooked with the ribs. Stir in the oregano and thyme. Stir as much as you can, then cook on low for 8 hours.

After 8 hours, remove the ribs with a pair of kitchen tongs (keep the sauce covered) and let them slightly cool until you can touch them. Remove the beef from the ribs and add it back to the slow cooker. Add in the brown sugar, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and cheese. Stir well and cook for another hour on low heat. Remove the thyme sprigs.

Before serving, taste the sauce and season additionally if desired. You might need more salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to add it! Serve over bucatini and top with extra cheese.

Cinnamon Apples

 

This next recipe may leave you scratching your head, but Cinnamon Apples can be made in a slow cooker and are a perfect and not super unhealthy dessert option for any time. Only a few hours of cooking time are necessary, and you can eat them with anything; Ice cream being our favorite.

INGREDIENTS:

5 pounds tart apples, peeled and sliced into wedges (10-12 apples)
3/4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Musselman’s Apple Butter
1/4 cup bourbon
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir to coat the apples.
Turn the slow cooker on and cover. Cook for approximately 2 hours on high, or 4 hours on low.

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Foodservice Trends 2019 Featured Image

Foodservice Trends For 2019

With a new year on the horizon, we are excited to see the changes in the Foodservice industry. Here are some foodservice trends being speculated for 2019:

Levantine Cuisine

Israeli cuisine has gained more eyes (and stomachs) in the past couple of years. This has led to flavor experimentation from Israel’s neighboring countries. Syria, Turkey, and Lebanon influence can be found in an abundance in independent eateries. Ingredients including schmaltz and urfa and sauces such as labneh and tahini are being used in new, innovative ways.

Natural Enhancements

“Functional food” is already a trend, but in the new year, there will be greater expansion. Natural enhancements to help with bodily functions will become commonplace to those who request it. This may include using ingredients such as collagen and cannabis to enhance brain function, beauty, and mental health.

Sensory In Social Media

Sites like Instagram and Facebook have changed the way the food industry shares its work. Tailoring content specifically for social media has become necessary in today’s technology-based society. And with the integration of custom stories and live video, this tech trend has reached a new level. Curating quality video content is key to staying relevant and being successful. In 2019, videos will include visual effects like color-changing cocktails and candy-popping audio enhancements. Menus will also most likely be adapting to this change in some fashion.

Going Green(er)

Plant-based dining has always been a thing, but it’s not just about staying away from meat; It encourages a “greener” approach to life. For example, a recent green initiative has restaurants banning plastic straws in an effort to eliminate waste. In addition, compostable food packaging is now a priority to foodservice operators. This eco-friendly push continues through third-party industry policies banning meat consumption and encouraging employees not to eat it when going out.

True Transparency

Having complete transparency is vital in business (and in life), but do you really receive complete transparency from a business? The foodservice consumer of tomorrow will expect brands to be 100% transparent with not only pricing, corporate ongoings, and workplace ethics, but also with their stance on environmental causes and the welfare of animals. We are especially happy with this one. I think we all deserve the truth.

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie Featured Image

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

The holidays can be taxing on your wallet. And sometimes, your belt. We know the struggle. It can be really tempting to scarf down that third helping of Prime Rib and Garlic Mashed Potatoes, washing it down with your fifth glass of Scotch. But it’s important to remember that moderation is key…eh, who are we kidding? Indulge! It’s the holidays! With that being said, I suppose we can provide you with a slightly healthier dessert option this season?

Here’s what we recommend for a great Strawberry Pretzel Salad!

Image result for strawberry pretzel salad

We’re kidding. Relax.

Today’s recipe is for a No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie.

What You’ll Need

  • 1 package cream cheese (8 oz.)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 package frozen whipped topping, thawed (about 16 oz.)
  • 2 prepared graham cracker crusts (about 9 in.)

What To Do

Beat cream cheese and sugar together. Mix in milk and peanut butter. Beat mixture until smooth. Fold in your whipped topping. Spoon mixture into two graham cracker pie shells. Cover and freeze until firm.

And that’s it! A great, reduced-fat treat for you and your guests. Or maybe just you? I don’t want to assume anything.

Brief History Of Eggnog Featured Image

A Brief History Of Eggnog

Sometimes, I wonder where Eggnog really came from. And this thought keeps me up at night. Okay, it doesn’t. But don’t you wonder?

It’s widely accepted that Eggnog originally stemmed from an early medieval drink in Britain called “Posset”, which was a hot, milky ale-like beverage. Well into the 13th century, the drink was consumed, even by monks. At least paired with eggs and figs. And it was around this time that a rough version of Eggnog came into existence. Since eggs, milk, and sherry were considered “wealthy” food products, Eggnog was often used in toasts.

In the 1700s, Eggnog lept across the vast seas to the American colonies. Being as how the early status of the US was run rampant with chickens, cows, and a much cheaper rum, it’s no wonder the drink became easily accessible.

The name “Eggnog” is still riddled with mystery. Some speculate that the “nog” portion comes from “noggin”, which translates to a wooden cup. Also “grog”, which as you may or may not know, is a strong beer. But by the late 18th century, the amalgamate of “Eggnog” became the final name of the drink.

Die-hard lovers of the beverage claim that those who don’t like Eggnog have never tasted “the real thing”. Seeing as how Eggnog you would pick up at the grocery store is packed with sugar and as little as 1% egg yolk, I can see how this much more artificial take on the original homemade version would deter people. I, for one, happen to like the stuff. Would I drink it every day? No. But that’s kind of the point. It’s a nice little holiday treat.

A fun little fact; George Washington had his own variation on the popular Yuletide drink. The recipe is as follows:

  • One qt. milk
  • One qt. cream
  • One dozen tbsp. sugar (yikes)
  • One pint brandy
  • 1/2 pint Jamaican rum
  • 1/2 pint rye whiskey
  • 1/4 pint sherry (sherry, Niles?)

Mix the liquor. Separate the yolks and whites of eggs. Beat yolks. Add sugar to said yolks and mix well. Add the cream and milk, beating it slowly. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Set it and forget it (to cool) for a few days. Taste frequently.

That seems like an intense recipe. Count us in!

Sushi Featured Image

What Exactly Is Sushi?

So…What Exactly Is Sushi?

Whether or not you’re a fan of Sushi (and honestly, who isn’t?), you may be inclined to believe that it’s simply “raw fish”. But Sushi is a little more than that.

For example, Sashimi is a popular dish made up of raw meat, but specifically in this instance, fish. It’s a common misconception that Sashimi is Sushi. But this is not the case. It is the most popular ingredient in Sushi.

Sushi is a term that refers to foods using a rice seasoned with vinegar. Sure, rolled rice and seaweed have become staples in modern Sushi dishes found in the West, but that’s technically not the traditional dish. It’s not considered Sushi unless vinegared rice is part of the equation.

Different Types Of Sushi?

There is such a wide variety of Sushi that it’s easy to get confused over what is and isn’t.

One form of Sushi, known as Nigiri-zushi, is a hand-pressed mound of rice with a little wasabi and a few other ingredients on top. These other ingredients can include tuna, shrimp, and yellowtail.

Maki-zushi rolls are wrapped using nori seaweed and include choices like tekkamaki (tuna) and kappamaki (cucumber). They are also referred to as Norimaki.

Inari-zushi is a deep-fried pouch of tofu stuffed with brown, oval-shaped, vinegared rice.

Chiarshi-zushi is served on a plate or bowl with various ingredients sitting on a bed of rice.

So yeah, there’s a lot to digest. But there are some key, consistent ingredients/seasonings in Sushi.

For example, soy sauce and wasabi are staples. Soy sauce is used primarily for dipping, while the previously mentioned Nigiri-zushi dish integrates wasabi into the roll. It may also be mixed with soy sauce for dipping purposes. Although, I’m personally not a big fan of the stuff. Too spicy. But pickled ginger is also included alongside Sushi, and THAT I like. It’s great for digestion, too. And Agari (green tea) is a commonly paired drink.

So Where Is The Best Sushi?

Sushi restaurants were once considered “exotic” outside of Japan, but now are about as common as finding a Starbucks.

…maybe a little less, but still.

You can typically find a large number of Sushi places in coastal cities, including Los Angeles and Seattle. But like I said, anywhere you look, you can probably find an eatery.

But make no mistake; Sushi can be expensive depending on where you go. However, there are an abundance of restaurants that offer “half-price Sushi” and “all you can eat”. You get the most bang for your buck there. Just be prepared to unbutton.

I’m sure you’ve seen video footage of a place where Sushi and other food products are sent around a conveyor belt. These places are called Kaiten-zushi, and they are found everywhere in Japan. All you do is wait until the dish you desire approaches, and then simply pick up the plate. If you don’t see a favorite, you can order it from the kitchen. Prices may vary.

So yeah, Sushi is a wonderful thing. ‘Nuff said.

Thanksgiving Best Featured Image

10 Reasons Why Thanksgiving Is The Best

We all joke about how our in-laws can piss us off or how we really shouldn’t be “celebrating” such a holiday, but to us, Thanksgiving means something special. It gives us an opportunity to tell our family, friends, and loved ones how much they mean to us.

But also food. Lots and lots of food.

Here are 10 reasons why Thanksgiving is the best:

1.) Family

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Whether it’s your mom who calls you every morning to give you the weather update, or that one uncle that is psyched to show you his new Hess truck, being surrounded by your family is always a unique experience. And since you probably don’t see them that often, enjoy it.

2.) Food

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Oh my, just look at that. Delicious turkey.

3.) Friends

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A little Friendsgiving is always a good time.

4.) Food

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Can’t forget the stuffing!

5.) Loved Ones

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Look at how happy they are. True love, folks.

6.) Food

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…is it getting hot in here?

7.) Giving Thanks

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Being thankful for everything you have.  Letting those closest to you know how much they mean. Nothing beats that.

8.) Food

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WHOA MAMA.

9.) Spending Time

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We know what truly matters.

10.) And The Food

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Beautiful.