Category Archives: Crockpot

Crockpot Pork Barbecue

Crockpot Pork Barbecue
I could eat this delicious barbecue ALL. DAY. LONG.  Or as I commonly say about really great tasting stuff:  "I could take a bath in it." 

I know.  That doesn't really make sense.  But neither does "Deader than a doornail."

Let's do this.

If you live in Cincinnati, head on down (or over) to Findlay Market to Kroeger & Sons Meats and get a pretty pink pork butt when it's on sale for $2.29/pound.  You'll need about 4 pounds. 

Raw Pork Butt
Salt and pepper your butt and place in a crockpot on a bed of a sliced yellow onion and 4 peeled whole garlic cloves.  Turn on high and cook for 4 hours. 

Cooked Pork Butt
Remove meat and discard onions and garlic.  Shred meat and return to crockpot.  Stir in a full bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce.  Our favorite is Montgomery Inn Barbecue Sauce.  Cook on low for 5-7 hours, stirring 1-2 times. 

That's it.  Oh.  You can freeze this in portions for later.  Let cool completely first, then refrigerate, then freeze. 

Crockpot Pork Barbecue
Compliments of JennaDish

4-5 pounds pork butt
4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 tsp salt
1-2 tsp pepper
1 medium to large yellow onion
1 bottle (about 28 oz) barbecue sauce

Cut onions in thick slices and lay on bottom of crockpot with whole peeled garlic cloves.  Turn crockpot on high, salt and pepper your butt, place in crockpot and cook for 4 hours.  Remove meat and discard onions and garlic.  Shred meat and return to crockpot.  Stir in full bottle of barbecue sauce.  Cook on low for 5-7 hours, stirring once or twice.  Serve on buns with coleslaw.

Chicken Curry Hot Pot

My first Japanest Hot Pot.  East meets West.  This should be interesting.

I chose a recipe that I thought the fam would tolerate – Chicken Curry.  I did well.

Chicken Curry Hot Pot
And here it goes…

Cook chicken and onion…

add curry …

add a brew of chicken broth, sake, soy sauce, and a smidge of sugar…

add potatoes, celery, carrots, negi (or Spring onions or leeks), cabbage, garlic and fresh ginger…

Cook until tender (and add some ramen in case you're concerned your teenager will snub her nose at all the veggies – at least I know she'll eat the noodles)…

Chicken Curry Hot Pot Japanese Bowl
dish it up in an authentic bowl from Japan brought to you as a gift by your teenage Japanese guest from last May (that's a very specific instruction, isn't it?)…

here it is without the broth to show off the chicken and such.

The verdict?  Everyone really liked it.  The picky sisters didn't pick anything out.  Will definitely make again. 

And the actual pot.  Love it.  Doesn't stick, keeps things hot, and cleans up very easily. 

Chicken Curry Hot Pot or Kare Nabe
Compliments of JennaDish

from Japanese Hot Pots by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sake
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( 1 to 1.5 pounds), cut into 1/4" thick slices
1 medium Spanish onion (about 3/4 pound), cut crosswide into 1/2" thick slices
1/4 cup curry powder
1/4 small head green cabbage (about 1/2 pound), cut into bite-size pieces
2 stalks celery (about 1/2 pound), sliced on an angle into 3" long pieces, 1/4 " thick
1 medium carrot (about 1/4 pound), peeled and sliced on an angle into 3" long pieces, 1/4" thick
1 medium Idaho potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1/4" thick slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
1 negi (Japanese onion) (or 2 spring onions)

Prepare the broth by combining the chicken stock, sake, soy sauce, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.

Add the oil to a hot pot and place over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add the chicken, stirring and cooking until the chicken turns golden, about 2 minutes.  Add the onion, stirring and cooking for 2 minutes.  Add the curry powder, stirring and cooking for 1 minute more to caramelize.  Add the reserved broth. 

Pile the remaining ingredients in the pot.  Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.  Decrease heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.  Simmer until the veggies are cooked to your liking.

Transfer the hot pot to the dining table.  Serve in bowls.  Suggested side dish: Individual bowls of steamed rice.


Katie’s Chili Spaghetti

Chili Spaghetti
UPDATE: Dr. Goldstein won the People's Choice Award (most money raised for the arts) with his Texas Chili.  He was laying down some serious chili smack talk at the hospital.  "Real chili doesn't have beans.  Real chili doesn't have spaghetti.  I'm the Texas Chili expert.  You need to buy special ingredients.  Blah Blah Blah"  What's your name again?  Bubba Goldstein?  I'm just sayin'.

(I'm kidding.  Everyone loves Dr. Goldstein and is happy he won.  'Cause we'd have to live with the consequences for an entire year.)

And Dr. Megan won the Best Tasting by a panel of judges.

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What?  No heart-shaped cookies?  No chocolate-dipped strawberries?  Why Chili?

Well, today is the 1st Annual Nephrology Chili Cookoff Fundraiser.  And this is my offering (not for judging, but for selling).

Growing up in Indiana, seeing spaghetti or macaroni in chili is common.  But evidently people from other states, you know, foreigners, get freaked out about it.  Get over it and try some.  It's good, and filling!

I had this chili when I was around 18 or so and asked the cook (Katie) for the recipe.  I think – no, I know – I love this because it's a little sweet.  Nothing fancy here…just hamburger, onions, spaghetti, packaged chili mix, tomato juice, spicy chili beans and a little sugar.  I was so tempted to put some of my homemade chili powder in it but resisted.

Side Note:  Bought a Martha Stewart Dutch Oven over the weekend regular price $109 paid $44 at Macy's.  Some of the display pieces had chips so I'm guessing people don't like that.  Hence the sale.

Love it already.

Side Note: don't use anywhere near a whole package of spaghetti – you will be pulling it out of your ears.

Katie's Chili
Compliments of JennaDish

This dish will also do well in the crockpot.  After cooking ground beef and onions, cook all ingredients on low for for 3-4 hours. 

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Medium onion, chopped
Large can tomato juice plus 1/2 the can of water
30 oz can Joan of Arc Spicy Chili Beans with liquid (or similar product)
1 1/2 pkgs McCormick Original Chili Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 package or little less of cooked spaghetti

Brown ground beef and onion, drain. Place in 5 quart Dutch Oven on medium heat.  Add all remaining ingredients except spaghetti and heat and stir until for about 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain and add to chili and stir well.  Simmer another 10 minutes and serve. 

Old Fashioned 15-Bean Soup with Kale

 15 Bean Soup with Kale and Ham
It's really hard to make bean soup pretty.  So I didn't fuss over the picture too much.  This is another basic soup that can be tweaked to your liking.  It's such a hearty and healthy winter soup.

And evidently it's idiot-proof because I assembled this early in the morning before work and forgot the 1/4 cup of parsley I had diligently chopped the night before and placed in the freezer in water to preserve.  Then when I got home I forgot to add the wine and vinegar.  It still tasted good.  I added diced ham steak at the last minute because we had some left over.

Note to self:  Allen prefers less kale next time. 

It's another crockpot recipe from "Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook" by Beth Hensperger.  I did some prep work the night before, threw stuff in the crockpot before work and had dinner waiting for me when I got home. 

The recipe calls for making a bouquet garni …

Bouquet Garni
like this.  Fresh parsley, fresh thyme, peeled garlic clove, 10 peppercorns, a bay leaf and fresh tarragon which I didn't have.  Place on a square of cheesecloth, tie with twine, drop in broth for flavor.

Bouquet Garni 2
Old Fashioned 15-Bean Soup with Kale (and Ham)
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker by Beth Hensperger

12 – 16 ounces commercial 15-bean soup or similar dried bean soup mix, rinsed (I used 12 oz)
8 cups water or chicken or vegetable broth (I used homemade 5 cups veg broth and 3 cups water)
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 bouquet garni: 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, 1 bay leaf, 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 sprig fresh tarragon, 10   black peppercorns, 1 clove peeled garlic, all tied in cheesecloth with kitchen twine
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium-size yellow onion, finely chopped
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped fine
2 Tablespoons dry white wine
2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco (I put 4 shakes in and still couldn't taste it)
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the bean mix, water or broth, parsley, and bouqet garni bag in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on HIGH for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a medium-size skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until just softened, about 5 minutes.  (I did this the night before).  Add to the cooker, cover, turn the cooker to LOW and cook the soup for 4-5 hours. 

Add the kale and stir to incorporate (if you need to let the soup cook all day while you are gone, just add the kale at the beginning or substitute spinach and add at serving time).  Coer and continue to cook on LOW until the beans are tender, another 4 -5 hours.

Discard the bougquet garni.  Stir in the wine, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce.  Season with salt and plenty of fresh black pepper. If the soup is too thick, add boiling water to thin.  Ladle into soup bowls and serve hot.

Easy Black Bean and Brown Rice Chili

Easy Black Bean Brown Rice Chili
This stuff is easy, basic, healthy, cheap and delicious.

Even better – you make it in the crockpot.  I got the recipe from a popular crockpot cookbook, but I had to alter it a bit.  It was much more thick than I like.  My personal opinion is that if you're going to call it soup or chili, you should be able to pour it out of the pan into a bowl.  The original recipe was so thick it stuck to the spoon like glue.

No problem, though.  Just add broth and it's perfect.

Chilpotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
The recipe calls for a canned chilpotle pepper.  You can find these in the Mexican food section of your grocery store.  1 pepper is extremely hot and so is the adobo sauce it comes in.  1/2 – 1 pepper in a crockpot of soup that serves 4 is plenty.  I store the leftover peppers from the can in a small plastic container in the fridge – they will stay good for a few weeks.  Toss some sauce or a small portion of a pepper in your omelet or on a baked potato.  It has a nice smoky flavor.

I like to scoop up my chili with pita toast.  To make pita toast, cut a pita pocket in half.  Split it so that 1 pita makes 4 pieces.  Place rough side up under the broiler and watch closely.  Takes just a couple of minutes to toast.  You only need to toast the 1 side.

Easy Black Bean and Brown Rice Chili
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook



Two 15 ounce cans black beans, with their liquid
14.5 ounce can crushed or chopped tomatoes, with their liquid
1/2 cup brown rice
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 – 1 whole canned chilpotle chile, to your taste, cut into small pieces
1/2 – 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Plain yogurt and pita toast for serving (optional)

Pour the beans and their liquid and the tomatoes and their liquid into the slow cooker.  Add the brown rice, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and chipotle; stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve the chili in bowls, topped with yogurt and use toasted pita bread to scoop. 


Spicy Vegetarian Chili Over Rice

Spicy Vegetarian Chili

Bronte is a little bistro inside of Joseph-Beth Booksellers.  They have some really good food.  I'm especially fond of their Vegetarian Chili served over "green" rice – white rice with cilantro and parsley.  It's spicy and thick, hearty and healthy. 

And cheap. When the economy started tanking in the fall of '08, we really tightened our belts out of downright fear of income loss.  But we still needed to get out here and there, so we'd make a game of going out on a dinner date for $25 or less. 

Last time we ate at Bronte, I ordered the chili and wrote down every ingredient I could identify to duplicate it at home.  Tomatoes, zucchini, onion, green peppers, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, chile beans.

This copy cat recipe is pretty darned close.  And we're making it in a crockpot so we can be super lazy about it.


Oooh.  It's like stained glass.  Pretty.

Remember crockpots sweat profusely.
So don't be tempted to add water at the beginning if you are thinking it's too thick.

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
In case you are wondering what "chipotle peppers in adobo sauce" is, like I was just a few months ago. 

Vegetarian Chili Rice


Spicy Vegetarian Chili
from JennaDish


Use a large crockpot and cook on LOW 5-6 hours

This dish is very spicy on it's own, but is meant to be served over a mound of rice which greatly diminishes the spiciness.  A dollop of sour cream calms it even more.  If you want to serve with less rice, decrease the chipotle peppers and adobe sauce by half. 

The crockpot lid will sweat, adding water automatically to the chili.  Try to limit your tendency to "check and stir" to 1or 2 times during the whole 5-6 hours.

1 Tblsp olive oil
1 green pepper, diced
1 large or 2 small onions, chopped
3 small or 2 med/lrg zucchini, cut into 1/2" pieces
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano or Mexican oregano
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
2 tsp adobo sauce
15 oz. can hot chili beans with sauce
15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained
15 oz. can kidney beans, drained

Basmati rice, about 1 cup per serving
Sour cream for serving

Put olive oil in saute pan set on med high heat and cook pepper, onions, and zucchini until softened, then add garlic for another minute to cook without burning. Turn down heat to medium, add chili powder and oregano to pan and saute for another minute or two to deepen and infuse the flavors.  Set aside.

Place tomatoes, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce in crockpot.  Add sauteed ingredients from pan and stir.  Add all beans and stir.  Cover the crockpot and cook on Low for 5-6 hours.

RICE:  Cook basmati rice according to package directions.

TO FREEZE:  Allow chili to cool, place in freezer containers leaving 1/4-1/2" space at the top.  Put in the refrigerator until completely cold before placing in the freezer.  Freeze about 1-2 months.  TO THAW:  Place frozen container in refrigerator overnight until thawed.  Heat in saucepan slowly, on medium heat.

Crockpot Double Corn Spoon Bread

Corn Cheese Spoon Bread Spoon Bread
Cornmeal, fresh corn, eggs, milk, butter, and cheddar cheese are the main ingredients in this super awesome side dish.  It's filling and I'd personally call it fairly healthy.  No sugar.  No oil.  Only 1 Tblsp or less butter per serving. 

Once you've made this, you can start tweaking.  According to cookbook author, Beth Hensberger, this Southern dish "is also known as batter bread and can contain cooked rice, hominy, different cheeses and vegetables." 

Serve with anything that would go with corn – chicken, roast, tacos, or because it's so filling, simply soup and salad.


You will need to do a little stovetop cooking of the batter – about 5 minutes if you have all your ingredients ready.  

Once you sprinkle in the baking powder, it foams up.  Good times.

The recipe says "fold in" the cheese.  Look at how liquid the batter is.  You can't really fold it – you have to stir it.  Do you get hung up on terms?  Me too.  We need to get a life.

Crockpot Spoon Bread
Put it in your non-stick cooking-sprayed crockpot, put the lid on it, and don't bother it for 3 hours.  This is what it should look like.  Pulling away from the side, beautiful, tasty crust on the edge, firm yet still a little loosey-jiggly.  You know how a jello mold can be firm yet jiggly?  You got it.


Double-Corn Spoonbread
Compliments of JennaDish

from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger


3 cups milk (I used skim milk or 0% fat)
1/2 cup medium-grind yellow cornmeal (I used 1/2 c + 2 Tblsps stone ground cornmeal)
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups fresh yellow corn or white corn kernels or thawed frozen baby corn (I used fresh)
1 tsp hot pepper sauce (like Tabasco)
1 Tblsp baking powder
6 large eggs
1 cup thinly shredded cheddar cheese

Whisk together the milk, cornmeal and salt in a large saucepan over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 1 minute.  (If you have a glass top stove like me that takes forever to lower its heat, have another burner turned on low and slide it over to simmer.) Stir in the butter until melted, the corn, and hot pepper sauce.  Sprinkle with a baking powder and whisk in the eggs until completely smooth.  Fold in the cheese.  (Fold, indeed.)

Coat the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.  Pour in the batter. Cover and cook on HIGH until the spoonbread looks set but is not quite firm, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.   (Mine took 3 hours. By then it was golden and had a nice crust.)  Enjoy!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Heaven… I'm in heaven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak.
Oh I've seemed to find the happiness I seek,
When we're out together dancing cheek to cheek
We should eat Chicken Tortilla Soup each week.

slightly adapted from Irving Berlin

Who wants to dance cheek to cheek when you can be stuffing your face with tender-cooked, free-range chicken and tasty veggies in a spicy broth with fresh avocado and cilantro, sour cream and cheddar cheese toppings?  Ooh ooh and crunchy corn tortilla strips.

The problem with soup is that it's a little more difficult to get a good picture of the complexity of what all is going on in the dish.  So I put the soup in a little glass dish and put the toppings on in a layer so you could see better.  That's because I'm an INFP.  That's the Myers-Briggs personality type that stands for: Introvert, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving.  INFPs are called the healer, idealist, or dreamer. 

"INFPs are introspective, private, creative and highly idealistic individuals that have a constant desire to be on a meaningful path. They are driven by their values and seek peace. Empathetic and compassionate, they want to help others and humanity as a whole."

You see why I need to put the soup in a glass bowl for you? 

By the way, do you see a baby turtle in the soup above?  (the piece of chicken in the middle). He's facing to the right and has a little horn-shaped, prehistoric-looking nose.  I think he's laughing because his mouth is wide open – or is that a piece of corn stuck on his face? 

"INFPs never seem to lose their sense of wonder. One might say they see life through rose-colored glasses. It's as though they live at the edge of a looking-glassworld where mundane objects come to life, where flora and fauna take on near-human qualities."

Is this guy standing behind me?  Would you call chicken floating in soup "mundane?"  I think not.  But what do I know?  I'm a dreamer and I "see" things in flora and fauna .


Here's some naked Chicken Tortilla Soup.  Waiting to get dressed.

Good News!  This is a crockpot recipe.  Yay!  And here's a Make Ahead Tip:  I combined all the ingredients the night before, except the corn and chicken which goes in later, and put it in a pitcher.  And then in the fridge because we don't want bacteria soup.  You can cook the chicken ahead also and have it ready. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup
Compliments of JennaDish

from Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook

28-oz can diced tomatoes, with the juice
10-oz can red or green enchilada sauce
2 medium yellow or white onions, chopped
4-oz can chopped green chiles, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups water
14.5 oz can chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 bay leaf (I consider this optional and left it out)
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano (regular or Mexican)
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (free range or Amish is best)
One 10-ounce can Mexican style corn (I used Green Giant Mexicorn)
corn tortillas
vegetable or canola oil for brushing tortillas

cheddar cheese, shredded
sour cream
diced avocado
fresh cilantro

Combine the tomatoes, enchilada sauce, onions, chiles, garlic, cilantro, water, broth, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and oregano in the slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or on HIGH for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Add the shredded chicken and corn, cover, and continue to cook on LOW for another hour.  Discard the bay leaf.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400oF.  Lightly brush both sides of each tortilla with some of the oil.  With a knife, cut the torillas into thin strips(or the size you wish).  Spread out the tortilla strips on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake until crisp but not browned, turning once halfway through baking, 8 to 12 minutes.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowl.  Sprinkle each serving with tortilla strips and grated cheese.  Top with a tablespoon of sour cream or crema Mexicana, then with a few slices of avocado and cilantro sprigs.  Serve immediately.