A Chicken in Every Crockpot!

Karen's Kitchen Adventures

Italian Beef Sandwiches in the crockpot! March 31, 2011

Filed under: crock pot,meat,one dish — frappqueen @ 8:47 am
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I’m back! Sort of….baby is now almost FIVE months old if you can believe it! We’ve been getting back in to the swing of cooking for awhile, but I kept forgetting to photograph it til recently. I’ve been utilizing the crock pot even more now as it really is helpful with a little one at home. She’s at her best in the mornings, so she plays in her bouncy chair while I assemble dinner in the crock, and it cooks and smells awesome all day and is ready when we are tired and hungry! perfect!

This recipe is an easy one, and I made it even better by making the italian rolls into garlic bread! Try it out!

Italian Beef Sandwiches

3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon onion salt
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bay leaf
1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style
salad dressing mix
1 (5 pound) rump roast

Combine water with salt, ground black pepper, oregano, basil, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, bay leaf, and salad dressing mix in a saucepan. Stir well, and bring to a boil.

Place roast in slow cooker, and pour salad dressing mixture over the meat.

Cover, and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours, or on High for 4 to 5 hours. When done, remove bay leaf, and shred meat with a fork.


serve shredded, on a crusty Italian bread roll! To make it even better, make the rolls into garlic bread!

butter both sides of the roll, add some italian seasonings and garlic salt and toast til toasty! So good and so easy!


Panzanella and Sausage Salad July 10, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat — frappqueen @ 6:43 am
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Here is a great one from my Rachel Ray magazine! I LOVE all forms of Panzanella salad, which is basically italian bread salad. It usually has toasted hunks of bread, a yummy dressing, tomatoes, peppers and other summertime veggies. This one adds sausage to it, making it a really hardy meal but still great to make on a sweltering summer day!

Panzanella and Sausage Salad

Four 3/4-inch-thick slices italian bread
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
5 fresh basil leaves, cut into ribbons
4 italian sausage links(about 1 pound)

*I added one yellow pepper, chopped up, as I LOVE peppers in my panzanella salad!


Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium. Brush the bread slices with 2 tablespoons olive oil. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion and garlic; season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Meanwhile, arrange the bread on the grill and toast on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip and top with half of the cheese; cover and grill for 2 minutes. Let cool slightly, then cut into cubes and add to the tomato mixture. Stir in the basil.

Pierce the sausages with a fork, arrange on the grill, cover and cook, turning once, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Thickly slice the sausages and add to the bread salad. Divide among 4 plates and top with the remaining cheese.


Taco Salad! May 31, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat — frappqueen @ 8:05 am
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Here’s a great one for a warm day! Almost no real cooking involved aside from like 10 minutes of cooking the chopped meat! Also, its really good!

Quick Taco Salad (from Cooking Light)

12  ounces  ground round

2  cups  chopped yellow, red, or green bell pepper
2  cups  bottled salsa
1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
4  cups  coarsely chopped romaine lettuce
2  cups  chopped plum tomato
1  cup  (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1  cup  crumbled baked tortilla chips (about 12 chips)
1/4  cup  chopped green onions


Cook beef and bell pepper in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until beef is browned; stir to crumble. Add salsa; bring to a boil. Stir in cilantro; keep warm.

Place 1 cup lettuce on each of 4 plates; top with 1 cup meat mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 1/2 cup tomato, 1/4 cup cheese, 1/4 cup chips, and 1 tablespoon onions.


coffee encrusted steak with mashed sweet potatoes April 12, 2010

Filed under: eat your vegetables,meat — frappqueen @ 8:28 pm
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Sorry I’ve been missing for so long! I recently spent about four days in the wilderness with my sixth graders as a chaperone and I didn’t do so much cooking when I got home as I was too busy napping! Anyway, I’m back, with lots of great food to share.

Coffee encrusted steak is SO good and super easy! It is basically two ingredients for the steak, and another three or so for the potatoes. The whole recipe takes hardly any prep or time. Perfect for a busy weeknight. I got it from the rachel ray website and its definitely a keeper.

I have made this a few times but this last time, I er, overcooked the steak as I was too busy tending to my farmville farm to realize it was done! That’s truly sad, and the reason why the steak looks a tad grey. Sorry! Mike still liked it but I thought it was way too dry for me. Next time I will not farm while cooking, I promise!

Coffee Encrusted Steak

steak of your choice

equal parts of ground coffee and steak seasoning (about 2 tbsp of each)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the coffee and steak seasoning. Rub all over the top and bottom of the steak. Preheat some olive oil in a nonstick, oven-safe pan. Sear the steak for about 8 minutes on each side.  Pop into the oven and cook, covered with foil for another ten minutes or so. Use a thermometer to be sure it is the correct temperature for your liking. I usually undercook the steak and we have to stick it back in, but not today! Today I overcooked it! Oh well!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into equal sized cubes

1/2 c. buttermilk

2 tbsp chives (fresh is best)

2 tbsp. butter

Boil the sweet potatoes in water for about 20 minutes or until they are easily pierced with a fork. Drain. Add the remaining ingredients and mash with a potato masher. Add more butter and buttermilk if the potatoes are too chunky for your liking. Serve with the steak. It’s so good!


Spaghetti and Meatballs in the Crock Pot (or…not!) March 31, 2010

Filed under: meat,one dish — frappqueen @ 7:29 pm
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This past weekend, I had a real hankering for homemade spaghetti and meatballs. Mike and I also had a hankering to go see “Hot Tub Time Machine”. But, I didn’t want to eat at like 8pm! What to do, what to do?! I finally decided, why not try to make it in the crock pot instead of on top of the stove? That way I could prep it all and come home to delicious ready-made sauce!

Usually when I make sauce I do it all in one giant pot on the stove, I also cook my meatballs right in the sauce, none of that frying or baking them first business. When you cook them right in the sauce, the results are plump and flavorful meatballs that are tender and awesome! It probably helps that I am in no way Italian, so while this recipe is not at all authentic, it really is good. Ask anyone who’s eaten it! It turns out that converting it to the crock was really easy and pretty much just as delicious. The only problem with the crock is that when I cook it on the stove top I definitely cook according to taste. I’ll just add more of this or that until it is perfect. With the ingredients going into the crock pot, I couldn’t really taste it as it went along, I just had to add stuff and hope for the best. It went pretty well though.

Spaghetti and Meatballs


1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 large can of crushed tomatoes

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

2 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp basil

1 tbsp oregano

2 tbsp garlic salt

1-2 tbsp sugar

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

In a large, deep pot, heat up the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until they start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and saute as well, another 2 or 3 minutes until the garlic is browned but not burnt! Add in the can of tomatoes and the can of sauce. Add in all remaining ingredients and stir. Taste sauce and adjust any flavorings as  you need. If the sauce is still very acid-y, add a tad more sugar. If you put in too much sugar, add another can of tomato sauce.  Let the sauce simmer on low as you prepare the meatballs. Cover the sauce if it is splattering all over the place, that stuff hurts!


1 or 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey (I get the dark meat from Whole Foods, I find the really lean stuff is too dry)

1/2 to 1 c. Italian seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 c. parmigiana cheese

1 or 2 eggs depending on how dry it is

3 tbsp milk

2 tbsp italian seasoning

1 tbsp garlic salt

salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together. The way it looks will tell you what you need to do. If it is not incorporating enough, add more egg. If it is too wet, add more crumbs! Try to make it an even amount of cheese vs. crumbs. When meatballs easily form a ball, the consistency is good. Form the meatballs into about 1 inch balls. Drop the meatballs one by one into the bubbling sauce. Be careful! You don’t want to get sauce burn! DO NOT STIR THE SAUCE WHEN YOU FIRST ADD THE MEATBALLS. After a few minutes, you can stir a bit. Let the meatballs cook in the sauce, covered, for at least 20 minutes, until the meatballs have turned white and appear to be done. If you are unsure, cook another 10 minutes.

Serve over spaghetti with some garlic bread. So good!!

Crock Pot Method:

It is totally the same method to do in the crock with these few exceptions:

For the sauce, start out with the onions sauteing in a small pot. Add the garlic and cook as stated above. When they are translucent, remove and add to the crock. Add all the remaining ingredients into the crock pot. Make the meatballs and drop them into the crock full of sauce. Cover and cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours. Easy enough, right?


Sausage and Red Pepper Calzones March 30, 2010

Filed under: meat — frappqueen @ 8:25 am
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I actually found this recipe while flipping through the latest Williams-Sonoma catalogue. They had it paired with a really dumb looking calzone maker, that seemed like no one should ever spend 30 dollars to purchase, but hey, the recipe looked good! And it was! The original recipe calls for you to make your own dough, and while I am sure that would have been even more delicious, I was making this on a school night when I was particularly exhausted…truth be told, Mike did most of the work as I was just that tired! He chopped and sautéed, and I rolled out the dough and filled them. What a team we make, huh?! When you aren’t making your own dough, this recipe is really quite simple and doesn’t take too long at all! Here is how I made it:

Sausage and Red Pepper Calzones (based on a recipe from Williams-Sonoma)

1 tbs olive oil + 1/2 tbs for brushing over tops

pizza dough (either get it from the pizza parlor or grocery store, or just use the Pillsbury stuff)

7 oz. mild italian sausage, removed from casing if that’s the kind you could find

1/4 yellow onion, sliced or chopped

1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced or chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. fresh oregano

3 oz. ricotta cheese

12. oz mozzarella, grated (this is what the recipe calls for, but we used less, 12 oz is a LOT o’ cheese!)

6 tbs. tomato sauce (the kind from a jar works well)

flour for dusting

6 tbs. parmigiano-reggiano cheese


Preheat oven to 475 degrees.

In a small frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the sausage, breaking it into small chunks and cook until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Drain excess fat from pan.

Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for two minutes, then add the bell pepper and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are tender and starting to brown.  Transfer the veggies to a large bowl, add the sausage, oregano, ricotta and mozzarella and sauce, and combine.

Take your dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using your hands, carefully stretch the dough out until it is roughly a rectangle the size of your baking sheet. Cut the dough into equal rectangles.

Fill each rectangle on one half with the sausage filling. Pinch the calzone closed all around and place on a greased baking sheet.  Brush the tops of each calzone with oil and sprinkle with some Parmigiano cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 475 degrees. Keep checking often as they can go from looking sad to overdone really fast!


Crock Pot Week! Corned Beef and Cabbage March 21, 2010

Filed under: crock pot,meat — frappqueen @ 8:23 pm
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Of course this particular crock week came up the same time as St. Patrick’s Day. Being that I’m blue eyed, freckled and Irish, Corned beef has got to be made! It is actually one of my favorite meals and I only make it once a year for some reason. I don’t know why I don’t ever make it any other day than St. Pat’s day, its so easy when you use the crock! Anyway…I call it corned beef and Cabbage but..I HATE cabbage. It is nasty and mushy and I just don’t like it when it’s cooked for so long. So, I reallly make corned beef and carrots and potatoes. But that’s okay, you can add the cabbage to your crock if it makes you happy!

Corned Beef minus the Cabbage in the Crock

Package of corned beef WITH seasoning packet (this year I used Nathan’s, but any brand will do, just check for the packet!)

1 pound baby red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half

1 bag baby carrots

water to cover it all in the crock


This is surely the easiest thing ever: Toss the meat, packet, carrots and taters into the crock. Add enough water to the pot to cover the meat completely. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-5. Serve with some mustard and some Irish Soda Bread if you’ve got it! Sadly I made too small a hunk of meat this year: no leftovers!