slow cooker

All posts tagged slow cooker

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Refried Black Beans

Published August 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

One of my absolute favorite meals to make myself is refried black bean tacos.  I have probably eaten this meal more than any other in my lifetime.  I ate it a lot while I lived alone, but I still do most nights when Nate isn’t home for dinner.  I love cooking, but this simply not cooking – it was heating up canned beans and adding fresh veggies and putting it all in a tortilla.

Refried Black Beans

Of course, there are several ways to eat black beans, but that is just one of my favorites.  Many people like them just along side of their dishes, sometimes served with rice.  They are always great to throw into a taco, burrito or salad to add protein.  Another one of my favorites is just to use it as a dip for tortilla chips.  However you eat them, this is a super recipe!  The best part is that you can control what you put in it, including the heat.

Refried Blakc Beans

This recipe certainly makes a lot of refried beans, but don’t be scared, the freezer is your friend!  I separated them into freezer bags to store for the next night I have my refried bean taco craving!  These turned out great!  You can control the consistency of the beans by adding more liquid if you choose, and/or blending them longer if you like them smooth.  I like them slightly chunky, so I didn’t blend for very long to get the consistency I liked.  However you like it, play around with the ingredients and find one that’s a perfect fit for you!

Refried Black Beans

Slow Cooker Refried Black Beans

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: Makes about 8 cups


1 onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers (I used 2 jalapenos and 2 Serrano chilis to add extra heat)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 cups dried black beans, rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water


1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 10 hours.

2. If there is a lot of liquid remaining, ladle some out and reserve.  Using an immersion blender, blend until desired consistency, adding back liquid as needed/desired.

Recipe Swap: Slow Cooker Beergarita Chicken Tacos

Published May 24, 2013 by jenmatteson

I got pretty busy over the weekend and didn’t get around to Meatless Monday, but hopefully next week I’ll get there!  We had a lovely weekend of family, friends, and even a little gardening.  Last summer, we put a vegetable garden in the back, which I absolutely love!  We also put in the foundation for a front garden, but didn’t actually get to putting plants in it.  My parents have a gorgeous garden, several actually in their gigantic yard, and were kind enough to split almost anything they could and send it home with Nate and me.  We ended up staying all night, sitting by the fire, playing some cards when it decided to downpour for a short time and enjoying some cocktails, so we didn’t get to planting them that day, but we got everything in the next.  We are both so excited!

Slow Cooker Beergarita Chicken Tacos

We’ve just been so busy with work, softball, gardening/yard work and other activities, that I had really let this recipe swap slip away from me.  This week’s swap is Blogger Choice, hosted by Sarah at Taste of Home Cooking.  I got another blog that I hadn’t WC-Recipe-Swap-badge-1visited in the past.  I love when that happens!  I was assigned Ashley’s blog, Cheese Curd in Paradise.  Thankfully, it’s not a blog all about cheese curds or I would have been in trouble ;P  When we do bloggers choice, I try not to go directly to the chicken category and sift through the other categories that interest me, but nothing really grabbed me, so I visited my old standby, chicken.  As soon as I saw the beergarita tacos, I thought it’d be a perfect fit.  It’s made in the slow cooker, perfect for our suddenly overwhelmingly busy schedules, we love chicken tacos, beer, and margaritas.  I make a margarita chicken (have yet to blog it) on the grill that is so flavorful and juicy, I figured this would be somewhat similar, and probably just as delicious.  Even better, there is basically two steps.  Dump ingredients in the slow cooker.  Shred.  Done and done.

Slow Cooker Beergarita Chicken Tacos

The chicken turned out really flavorful.  I combined the ingredients, minus the chicken the night previous, so all I had to do was put the chicken in the slow cooker, pour the mixture over it in the morning and turn it on.  Bam!  But, the mixture didn’t smell so good in the morning, so I was slightly concerned.  However, they did turn out really juicy and lovely.  Nate and I both had two, and we made a salad from the leftovers for lunch today.

Slow Cooker Beergarita Chicken Tacos

Slow Cooker Beergarita Chicken Tacos

Source: Cheese Curd in Paradise
Servings: 8


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup margarita mix
6 oz lager beer
1/2 tsp lime zest
3 jalapeno peppers, diced (seeded for less heat)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 /2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
cilantro, shredded cheese, non-fat plain Greek yogurt (all optional for garnish)


1. Place chicken into slow cooker (using frozen breasts is fine, and actually recommended for long cooking times).  Mix all remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour over chicken.  Cook on low for approximately 8 hours, or until chicken is easily shredded with a fork.  Shred chicken breasts between two forks (I just leave it in the slow cooker and do this, but if it’s easier or you’d rather, go ahead and remove the chicken, shred it, and return to slow cooker).  Continue to cook until heated through.  Serve on tortillas and garnish as desired.

See what the others ladies cooked up for the Bloggers Choice Swap!

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Published May 15, 2013 by jenmatteson

I absolutely love the slow cooker, and it is so underused in my kitchen.  Especially in the warmer months.  We tend to do a whole lot more grilling; who doesn’t?  But, the slow cooker is good in the summer too because it doesn’t heat up your kitchen, and you can enjoy the wonderful weather in the evening instead of trying to get dinner on the table at a reasonable time.  We’ve all been there.

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

I saved this recipe about a month ago for several reasons.  1) As mentioned above, I need to use my slow cooker way more.  2) I like the sound of all the ingredients in this recipe. 3) I’m a sucker for any type of pulled pork sandwich. 4) I had a pork shoulder in my freezer that I had purchased on sale a few weeks back calling my name (and this recipe’s name).  Normally, I probably would have just made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches with the pork shoulder, but we’re adventurous and wanted to try something a little different.  This was perfect.

Everything came together super quickly, and I had everything on hand already – with the exception of a lime.  I pretty much always have lemons and limes on hand, but just happened to be out when I was pulling this together. Seeing as though I was doing it before work, I really didn’t have time to run to the store, so I forged ahead without the lime juice.  I feel like that was a mistake.  The pork was still really tender, moist and delicious, but it seemed like it was lacking a bit of freshness, which I’m sure the lime would have contributed.  The cilantro mayonnaise was great!  Nate said he didn’t think it added much to the sandwich, but I liked it and it was a change from my usual BBQ and/or hot sauce.  When we had leftovers, we added a little mango Habanero hot sauce to our sandwiches and they were awesome!  This would be an excellent meal for company on a Friday night so everything is ready to go when you get home from work and you have little prep.  You can focus on cleaning those last little places and getting cocktails and appetizers out instead of worrying about the main event!

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Sandwiches

Source: Adapted from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Servings: 6-8


For the pork:
1 onion, halved and sliced
3 lb boneless pork shoulder (butt would work, too)
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
2 tsp dry minced garlic
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
juice of one lime
1/4 water
hamburger buns. toasted (toasting is optional, but it keeps the bun from getting overly soggy)

For the cilantro mayonnaise:
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp cilantro, minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tbsp lime juice


1. Arrange onions on bottom of slow cooker.  Place pork shoulder on top.

2. In a small bowl. combine brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle over pork.  Pour lime juice and water around pork.

3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, until pork very tender.  Meanwhile, combine ingredients for cilantro mayonnaise and refrigerate until ready to use.

4. Remove roast from slow cooker and pour liquid into bowl.  Return roast to slow cooker and shred with two forks.  Skim fat from reserved liquid and pour about 1 cup skimmed liquid over pork.

5. To serve, spread cilantro mayonnaise on one side of the bun and top with pork.

Recipe Swap: Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Published August 13, 2012 by jenmatteson

The theme of the most recent recipe swap was “Too Hot to Cook”, so all the recipes submitted were ideally no cook recipes, so at least no stove/oven, but grilling and slow cooker were allowed.  I submitted my Chili Lime Shrimp Salad.  I received Tina’s blog, Tasty Treats by Tina, and she submitted sloppy joes.  This was originally a swap recipe she’d received in the past, but altered to her own liking the second run, so I went off of her recipe.

I was a bit hesitant as I’m very particular about sloppy joes, and I’ve only liked my mother’s recipe growing up (and still).  My only change to her recipe is to use ground turkey instead of ground beef.  No biggie.  Nate and I love them; I guess I should blog it sometime – though I’d have to get permission from Mrs. Pigzilla 😉

Anyway, I did the same thing with Tina’s recipe and substituted turkey meat for ground beef, and omitted tarragon, really just because I didn’t want to buy any just before leaving on vacation.  I also adjusted the measurements for my own taste.  After tasting it after it’d been in the slow cooker for a while, it was a little too tomatoy for my taste, so I did add more mustard to combat that.

In the end, they were pretty tasty.  Nate commented that they were a little too sweet, and I even lowered the amount of brown sugar it called for.  Next time, I’d probably omit the sugar as I find it unnessicary.

Sloppy Joes

Source: Tasty Treats by Tina
Servings: 4


i lb ground turkey
1/2 large onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/4 cup yellow mustard
5-8 leaves fresh basil, chopped
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 can tomato paste
salt and pepper


1. In a large frying pan, brown turkey meat over medium heat.  Drain and add to slow cooker.  Add remaining ingredients, mix, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  *Since I only used 1 lb of turkey meat (vs. Tina’s 2 lb ground beef), I only cooked my sloppy joe’s on low for about 4 hours.

2. Serve on toasted bun.

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Published July 1, 2012 by jenmatteson

I’ve had this pork tenderloin in my freezer for about two months; I bought two because they were on a great sale, and used the first one for the hoisin glazed pork tenderloin.  I’m not a big pork eater, but when I do eat pork, I prefer tenderloin versus a chop, as the meat is so much more, well, tender.  I decided to throw it in the slow cooker with some seasoning and salsa to make some tacos for Friday night dinner.

On on a side note regarding “slow cooker” vs. “Crockpot”…some people wonder why I use the term slow cooker as opposed to Crockpot.  Well, if you don’t already know the answer, it’s because Crockpot is a (well-known) brand of slow cookers, where as slow cooker is what the appliances is actually called.  Think about tissues and Kleenex, or lip blam and Chapstick.  I don’t know why, but it drives me crazy when people refer to lip balm in general as Chapstick.  I’m a Blistex girl myself.  I do own a Crockpot, but  I still refer to it as slow cooker.  Okay, rant over.

As per usual when I have something in my slow cooker, when I got home from work, my house smelled amazing.  I don’t know how the cats can stand the insanely awesome aromas all day long; it would drive me crazy.  I shredded the pork and left it on warm as we had to run a few errands before dinner.  All I could think about was pork tacos and I was getting crankier and crankier the longer they took.  Finally, we got home and were ready to eat dinner. As usual on Friday, we didn’t get around to it until after 9 PM, which means my pictures don’t turn out quite as well.  But believe me when I say these were yummy.

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 4


4-5 lb pork tenderloin
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
1 cup salsa


1. In a small bowl, mix seasonings.  Add tenderloin to slow cooker and sprinkle seasoning mix over the top.  Add salsa, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

2. After 6-8 hours, shred tenderloin with two forks, and mix with remaining liquid in slow cooker.  Serve in soft or crunchy tortilla shells, over rice or over salad with desired toppings.

Slow Cooker BBQ Beer Chicken

Published May 23, 2012 by jenmatteson

I sat at a golf course all day long…sponsoring a hole for my company.  It sounds nice, but if you’re not from Minnesota, you don’t know that it wasn’t a beautiful day, and there were torrential downpours on and off.  I suppose I should be thankful for the fact that it wasn’t storming all day long, but still…wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

The point of the story is that it was a perfect spring day to use my slow cooker.  Not only was I starving by the time I got home, but I was in no mood to make dinner.  Thankfully I thought ahead and started dinner before I left in the morning.  I found this recipe a few weeks back, maybe months, from Jessica at How Sweet it Is.  Anything using chicken breasts in the slow cooker for an entire day…sign me up!

I used a little less chicken, probably 2 pounds, and used frozen chicken breasts so that they could cook a little longer before I got home from work.  The only thing I omitted was onion powder, but not because I don’t like it, but because I didn’t have any on hand.  As Jessica suggested, I used a little more beer because the sauce I was using was a bit thicker.  Plus, I couldn’t use only 8 oz of beer and let the other 4 oz go to waste! The result was a little runny, but really, it was no problem because the chicken was so super moist.  I didn’t add the additional barbecue sauce directly to the slow cooker before serving, instead I added it to my sandwiches directly so it wouldn’t get watered down.  The flavor of the chicken was amazing; I added a little hot sauce to mine to spice it up!  I could definitely see this being a regular in our dinners because it’s so easy, we almost always have the ingredients, oh, and it’s delicious!

Slow Cooker BBQ Beer Chicken

Source: How Sweet It Is
Servings:  8


2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
12 oz beer (I used a lager)
32 oz barbecue sauce, divided
hamburger buns


1. Season chicken with paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Place chicken in slow cooker.  Add beer and  24 oz barbecue sauce and cook on low for 8 hours (you can cook for longer if you use frozen chicken breasts, mine cooked for almost 10 hours and probably could have cooked longer).  Shred chicken with two forks.

2. Preheat broiler.  Place sliced hamburger buns sprayed with olive oil under broiler until well toasted, about 2-3 minutes.  Place shredded chicken on top of buns, add remaining barbecue sauce and serve.

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Published May 18, 2012 by jenmatteson

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you’ll notice that my “beef” category is lacking a bit.  It’s not that I don’t like beef, though I do think cows are lovely creatures, but I just don’t cook with it a lot.  I’m thinking I may have to venture out of my comfort zone if I’d like to gain more readers 😉

I do enjoy French dip sandwiches, and I also love using my slow cooker, so I thought this was really a no brainer.  The beef cooks for several hours in juicy broth with onions, and it’s so tender, you can literally peel the meat off with tongs as you build your sandwich.  The onions get super soft and add a little sweetness to the broth and your sandwich, for a perfect combination.  Top with some provolone and horseradish if you wish, and viola!

I used two cans of broth with this recipe, but the first time I made it, I used one can of broth and a beer.  My parents aren’t beer drinkers, and my dad seems to be able to pick out the taste, regardless of what it’s cooked in, so I didn’t want to use a beer this time around.  The alcohol in the beer of course cooks out, but the flavor is intensified making a more flavorful au jus and it seems to tenderize the meat a bit more.  Do what you like and what fits your tastes.

Unfortunately, this was the last meal my slow cooker will be making.  There was a large crack, which leaked much of the juicy goodness onto my counter 😦  Guess I’m in the market for a new one.  Any recommendations?

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: 12


olive oil
3-4 lb rump roast
salt and pepper
4 onions, halved and sliced thick
1 package dry onion soup mix
2 10.5 oz cans low sodium beef broth
or 1 10.5 oz can low sodium beef broth and 1 12 oz beer
12 French rolls
12 slices provolone


1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over high heat.  Salt and pepper both sides of the roast.  Sear until browned, about 3 minutes each side.

2. Place 1/2 the onions in the bottom of slow cooker.  Add seared roast.  Sprinkle with onion soup mix.  Add remaining onions.  Pour beef broth (and beer if using) over roast and cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Roast should be very tender and shred easily with a fork/tongs.

3. Preheat broiler.  Spray rolls with olive oil and place under broiler until brown and crusty, 3-5 minutes.  Top rolls with shredded beef, onions and provolone and place under broiler for one minute more, or until cheese is melted.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Published April 19, 2012 by jenmatteson

Boy oh boy do I love slow cooker recipes.  Especially those that involve chicken.  This recipe from Nicole at Prevention RD caught my eye right away, and being that it was a slow cooker recipe, it was an added bonus!  Usually when I make chicken in my slow cooker, I use frozen chicken breasts, as it takes them longer to cook, and therefore, I can be gone from the house longer than only the 4-5 hours it would normally take.  My typical work days vary between 9-12 hours of being gone from the house.  I did the same for this recipe, which cooked for about 10 hours, but it didn’t turn out exactly how I would have liked.  Next time I’ll either double the sauce if I cook for the same period of time, or I’ll do it when I know I’ll be able to get the chicken out of the slow cooker as soon as it’s cooked.  My onions burned and the chicken was a little dry.  I discarded the burned onions and quickly sautéed another and threw it in the sauce while it was thickening and my rice was cooking.  The sauce did taste really yummy in the end, but it was too late for the dry chicken, though it was wonderfully tender and shredded easily with a fork.  Nate and I still enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow evening.  My only other alterations to the original recipe was reducing the cornstarch, adding a whole onion, and adding a bit of sriracha, of course 😉  Oh, I didn’t have any green beans, so I used broccoli.

My recommendation is to follow the suggested cooking times (unlike myself) or doubling the ingredients for the sauce to keep the chicken juicy if you’re planning to cook it while being gone for a long (or regular for most working people) day at work.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Source: Prevention, RD
Servings: 4


3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup honey
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 1/2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion, diced
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 cup whole grain rice


1. Place chicken breast in slow cooker.  In a small bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Add onion and pour sauce over chicken.  Cook on low for 3-4 hours.

2. Cook rice according to package directions.  When chicken is just cooked through, remove from slow cooker and whisk cornstarch into sauce and cook on high for another 10 minutes, or until thickened.

3. Shred chicken or cut into small pieces and return to thickened sauce.  Toss to coat.  Serve over cooked rice and garnish with sesame seeds.

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