6 articles Tag Crock Pot

7 Day Slow Cooker Challenge – Chicken and Chorizo Stew

So, you may or may not have noticed that this post is a day late and there is a very good reason for that.

We had a potato disaster.

As with most of my slow cooker recipes, I research the dish that I want to make and adjust them to our tastes and the fact that my Crock Pot cooks things a little quicker than a conventional slow cooker. All of the recipes for chicken and chorizo stew varied their cooking time between 8 and ten hours on low, so I figured 4 hours on high in my Crock Pot would be plenty. However, after 4 and a half hours on high, the potatoes were still rock hard! In fact, the dish wasn’t actually properly edible until about 9.30pm, by which time we’d declared it a disaster and gone to get fish and chips! The girls needed to eat and of course, all of this weeks shopping was geared toward slow cooked meals, so a takeaway was the only option.

However, once the stew WAS cooked, it was totally delicious. We’ve saved it for dinner today and I’m so glad we did, rather than abandoning it altogether. The chorizo has released its smoky flavour into the dish and broth around the meat and veg was rich and warming. Our first two dishes were things which were made to go with non-slow cooked accompaniments, but this was a true one pot meal, with the protein, carbs and veg all cooked together, which is what the essence of slow cooking is about for me.

Chicken and Chorizo Stew

Here’s how we made it:

Chicken and Chorizo Stew

7 Day Slow Cooker Challenge - Chicken and Chorizo Stew
 
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A slow cooked stew with smoky chorizo and tasty chicken.
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Spanish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 600g chicken breast, cubed
  • One onion, diced
  • 450g potato, peeled and cubed
  • 250ml chicken stock
  • 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 200g chorizo, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or grated
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 30g black olives
Instructions
  1. Place all of the ingredients (apart from the olives) into the slow cooker
  2. Stir well
  3. Cook on high for 6-8 hours (depending on your slow cooker!)
  4. Add olives around 30 minutes before you're ready to serve
  5. Serve with crusty bread and sour cream

I must admit, I often avoid dishes with potato in them as I’ve had a disaster like this before; the one and only time I cooked my lamb stew in my Crock Pot, the potatoes didn’t soften very well and I put it down to the fact that the pot was just too full, so the heat didn’t permeate as well as it could have. This stew was far less voluminous and the potato was the only root veg, so I thought we’d be fine, but alas not! I think the moral of this tale is to always give yourself PLENTY of time for dishes with potato to cook…I’d actually be tempted to put this on at about 8am in future, just to be sure it was completely cooked, but the effort would be worth it as the stew tastes fabulous!

Have you been slow cooking this week? Don’t forget to blog about it and link up below.

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7-Day Slow Cooker Challenge – Macaroni Cheese

Slow Cooker Macaroni CheeseToday is day 2 of our slow cooker challenge and in the slow cooker today we have macaroni cheese! This one is quite a leap of faith for me because not only have I never made macaroni cheese at all, I’ve never even tasted it (other than one mouthful of the stuff you get from a can). We opted for this today as yesterday’s dinner was very rich and meaty, so we wanted to have something which is totally different, and it’s also one of the days when Husband does his longer run, so some carbs will be very welcome! The recipe is super simple:

Slow Cooker Macaroni Cheese

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Mum's the Word 7-Day Slow Cooker Challenge - Macaroni Cheese
 
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A slow-cooked oozy, cheesy pasta dish with bacon, served with garlic bread
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: American
Serves: up to 10
Ingredients
  • 300g grated cheddar
  • 900ml milk
  • 200ml evaporated milk
  • 500g elbow macaroni
  • 1 tub of cream cheese
  • 150g streaky bacon
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic
Instructions
  1. Begin by dicing the bacon and browning it lightly in a frying pan
  2. Pat the bacon with some kitchen paper to soak up some of the grease before adding it to the slow cooker
  3. Chuck in everything else, give it a stir and cook on low for 2-3 hours
  4. Serve with garlic bread or a side of your choice

In terms of slow-cooking, this recipe couldn’t be any easier – you could probably even forgo the frying off of the bacon and just chuck in some lardons raw, but I wanted to get rid of some of the fat, and also have that lovely salty flavour of bacon when it’s been browned. The result was an oozy, gooey cheesy delight which the whole family absolutely loved. What’s most impressive is that this dish, which was absolutely huge and could have served a whole other family as well as us, costs around 91p per portion, including the garlic bread, which seems brilliant to me.

Both girls absolutely loved this and I think it’s a meal which would also work really well cooked the day before and eaten cold for lunch, or even at a picnic or barbecue as a really tasty side dish.

Have you tried slow cooker macaroni cheese before? What did you think? Have we inspired you to try it yourself?! Leave me a comment below…or even better, join in with our 7-day challenge and blog your own recipe, then come back and link up below!

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7 Day Slow Cooker Challenge – Beef and Guiness Stew

Beef and Guiness StewToday is the first day of my slow cooker challenge, and it was one of those awkward days where I had to be at an appointment in the mid afternoon. This meant that I needed to choose a dish for the day which could be put on around lunchtime and left for at least 6 hours, so I opted for the Beef and Guinness stew. It’s rubbish weather here (we’ve actually had the heating on today!) so coming home to something warm and tasty, bubbling away, was incredibly welcome.

If I’m honest, I don’t know the difference between a casserole and a stew, so this could be either, but I opted for a recipe without veg so that we could choose what to have with it – I’ve served it with red cabbage and mash, but you could choose anything you fancy (or have in the freezer).

Here’s the recipe:

Beef and Guiness Stew
 
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A tender, slow-cooked beef stew with Guiness and bacon.
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Irish
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 900g diced beef
  • 150g streaky bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tbs plain flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bouquet Garni
  • 500ml beef stock
  • 1 bottle of Guiness (or other stout)
  • Olive oil for cooking
Instructions
  1. Finely chop the onions and fry in a little oil until translucent
  2. Slice the bacon and add to the onions. Fry for 2-3 minutes
  3. Place the onions and bacon the the slow cooker
  4. In a bowl, season the flour with salt and pepper
  5. Toss the diced beef in the seasoned flour
  6. Fry the beef in a little oil in the same pan that you cooked the bacon and onions in until browned
  7. Once browned, add the beef to the slow cookers
  8. Add the stock, Guiness and bouquet garni to the slow cooker
  9. Cook on low for 6-8 hours
  10. Serve with potatoes and veg of your choice

Often I shy away from dishes which require any sort of prep or pre-cooking because I feel like slow cooking should basically just be “chuck it all in”, but I can honestly say that the extra effort was well worth it here. The beef was super tender because it had cooked for so long, but the flavour was incredible because of the initial browning in seasoned flour and the salty morsels of bacon added bursts of savoury flavour to the dish. The stock, herbs, ale and juices from the meat and onions combined to make the most delicious gravy…I had to resist the urge to dip bread in the remaining sauce in the pot!

I also think this dish would freeze really well, so I’d be tempted to make a double portion and freeze half next time I made it. All in all, I’m really pleased with today’s recipe and I’m really glad I kicked off with this as it was just perfect for today!

Don’t forget to blog about what’s in your slow cooker and link up with the linky below.

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Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

The beauty of slow cooking is that it’s often cheaper cuts of meat which respond really well to “low and slow”, which means that we can enjoy healthy, protein-rich meals without having to spend a fortune. I’m still using the slow cooker, on average, about 2-3 times a week so as well as saving on the actual meals, the cost of cooking is lower too as it’s much cheaper to run a slow cooker, even for 8 hours, than a conventional cooker.

Today’s experiment is Mongolian Beef; I’ve seen a few different recipes for this around the internet and they all call for brown sugar (a whole cup of it, no less…), which is something that Husband and I are trying to avoid at the moment, so as with the Pulled Pork, I replaced the sugar with erythritol to get the sweetness without adding sugar, although you can also use a little agave nectar. Find the best ones at Monica’s Health Mag.

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef

Here’s how I made it:

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
 
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A slow cooked beef dish with ginger, garlic and carrots.
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 800g diced beef
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 cup erythritol
  • ¼ cup corn flour
  • 2 grated carrots
  • 3 spring onions, chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the beef into a ziplock bag with the corn flour and shake to completely coat the meat
  2. Place the meat in the slow cooker with the oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, chilli flakes, water and sweetener
  3. Cook on low for 6 hours
  4. Add the grated carrots half an hour before serving
  5. Serve with egg noodles or a side of your choice and garnish with the chopped spring onions

This is exactly my kind of slow cooker recipe – aside from a minimal amount of prep, it really is a kind of “chuck it all in and wait” dish, which makes it perfect for busy days. It’s really cold here today so getting through the door after a chilly school run and smelling our beef cooking away was truly dreamy!

I’ve never tried it with the brown sugar instead of the sweetener, so I can’t compare, but I have to say it was absolutely delicious, even without the sugar and I certainly wouldn’t ever bother making it the original way. The meat was incredibly tender after being cooked for so long and the depth of flavour was really impressive for such a simple recipe. The girls and Husband really loved it and overall, it was pretty cheap to make, if you’ve got a few basics in the store cupboard. This will definitely be one that we add to our regular dinners.

Have you tried Mongolian Beef? Let me know what you think!

Slow Cooker Pork Stacks

One of the things which has surprised me the most about using a slow cooker is that it isn’t all stews, soups and casseroles. Of course, I have made stews, soups and casseroles, but I’ve also made meatballs, cake, melt-in-the-mouth meat and even a ‘fakeaway‘ (which, to you and I, is basically a replica of a doner kebab!). Today, I’m doing something which is even more of a departure from what you’d expect of slow cooked fayre – pork stacks.

Here’s how you make slow cooker pork stacks:

Slow Cooker Pork Stacks
 
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Slow cooked pork stack with stuffing, apple, cheese and onion.
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • Pork steaks or chops (2 per person)
  • Stuffing, made up as per the instructions
  • 1 cooking apple, sliced into rounds
  • One onion, sliced
  • Cheddar cheese, 1 or 2 slices per stack
  • Tin foil for wrapping and making foil balls
Instructions
  1. (Before you begin, unless you have the type of slow cooker which can cook dry ingredients, it's wise to ball up some tin foil and place a cup of water in the bottom of your slow cooker, to prevent the pot from cracking which can sometimes happen with recipes with no moisture)
  2. Tear a square of tin foil off of the roll and place one pork steak in the centre
  3. Place a slice of apple on top of your steak
  4. Place a few rings of onion on top of the apple
  5. Place a couple of spoonfuls of stuffing mixture on top of the onions
  6. Top with a slice of cheese
  7. Place another pork steak on top and wrap the edges of the tin foil over to create a sealed parcel
  8. Repeat with the remaining ingredients
  9. Place the parcels in the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low
  10. Serve with mashed potato and veg of your choice

Because of the slow cooking, the meat is incredibly tender and the flavours of everything almost melt together. One pork stack is more than enough for one person and the girls shared one, which makes this a pretty cheap meal – even from Waitrose, the meat (which is the most expensive part of the recipe) was only £4 for a pack of six, which was enough to feed us four. It takes only a little bit of effort to make a really tasty meal, which is something I seem to find every time I try something new in the slow cooker.

To me, this is the perfect family meal – tasty, pretty well balanced and something that all of us really enjoy. What’s not to love about that?!

Slow Cooker Pork Stacks

Slow Cooker Lava Cake

I have to say it: I am becoming a slow-cooker obsessive. Since Husband bought a Crock Potfor me about a month ago, I’ve cooked about a dozen meals in it, getting slightly more adventurous each time. Last night, I tried making dessert in it for the first time and I was so impressed with how easy it was and how well it turned out that I thought I’d share it with you. Behold, the LAVA CAKE!

slow cooker lava cake

What this picture is not showing you is that although it looks like a humble sponge cake, there is actually molten goodness inside (hence lava cake…), like a low-effort chocolate fondant, if you will. But, I cannot stress how easy this is to make.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 package of chocolate sponge mix (we used Betty Crocker as it was all they had in the Co-Op at 4pm on a Saturday) plus the wet ingredients stated on the box (I think it’s eggs, oil and water)

1 package of Angel Delight (we used butterscotch and it worked SO well!) plus 300ml milk

Chocolate chips or chunks (I used a bag of milk and a bag of white chocolate chunks)

  • Grease your slow cooker with a little oil spray or butter
  • Mix up your cake batter and pour it into the slow cooker
  • Mix up your Angel Delight, leave to thicken for 5 minutes and then pour directly on top of your cake batter in the slow cooker
  • Sprinkle you chocolate chips evenly over the top of the mixtures
  • Cook on high for 1.5 to 2 hours
  • Serve with custard or ice cream and try not to make inappropriately lustful noises whilst eating.

It really is as simple as “chuck it all in and wait”, which is my favourite type of dessert. We got 6 massive portions out of ours, or 8 reasonable portions, and although it may not be the best looking dish once it’s served up, I’d be more than happy serving it to guests as it’s so damn tasty! I’m going to experiment with different flavours too; I’m thinking vanilla sponge and strawberry Angel Delight next time!

Have you made this before? What flavours did you use? Leave me a comment below!

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