Category Archives: Crockpot Meals

Flat (or Slick) Dumplings for Chicken n’ Dumplings

Chicken n’ dumplings was one of my favorite meals growing up and it still is. 

Now, did your moms make the flat dumplings or the fluffy dumplings?  Mine always made the fluffy dumplings, I think partly because they were much quicker to make and also because my dad preferred them.  But us girls (my mom, sister, and I)  knew the best dumplings are really the flat kind.  Just about the only time we ever got to eat them was at our family reunions in Georgia every summer. Nobody can make chicken n’ dumplings as good as a south Georgia cook.  No, I’m not biased at all 😉

I make the flat kind as well.  That’s how I made them when I first introduced my husband to chicken n’ dumplings, which by the way, is probably his favorite meal now.  You should see the way that man’s eyes light up when I make it.  I tried fluffy dumplings on him once, and he informed me that I should stick with the flat kind.  Okay by me!

So today I want to give a tutorial on how I make them, which is geared towards those of you who have never made flat dumplings before.  Hopefully it will inspire you to give them a try in your own kitchen!  I’m sharing a very basic recipe, which is the one I most often use.  One of these days maybe I’ll post my great-grandmother, Ella Mae Jay’s, recipe too 🙂

Let me just give a quick rundown on how I make the chicken part, aside from the dumplings.  I’m not even giving a recipe for it because it’s so darn easy.  I just take a few chicken quarters, and throw them in my crockpot along with some chopped onion, celery, and carrot.  Give it a good season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper, then add enough water to cover, about 5 cups or so.  You can also do this in a pot on the stove.  You can also leave out the vegetables, but I like to include them.  Cover and simmer until the chicken is falling off the bone.  Take it out and set it on a plate until it’s cool enough to shred.

Now we’re ready for the dumplings!  Stir together all the dough ingredients until a ball forms, like this.  I usually have to add a couple more tablespoonfuls of water to get it to come together.

Put it down on a floured surface, and just roll it on out.  You want it to be very thin.

At this point, I use my pizza cutter to cut it into strips.

Here you can see the how thin I roll the dough out.  I like it very thin, though if you make them often enough, you’ll come to know how thin or thick you prefer yours.

Pinch off portions of dough, about 1 to 2 inch pieces, and drop them straight into your broth.  If you’re using a crockpot you want it cranked to high now, or at a simmer on the stovetop.  You can add your chicken at this point as well, or wait until the dumplings are done, it doesn’t matter.  You’ll need to give them a good 45 minutes in the crockpot or about 20 minutes on the stovetop. 

Now dish yourself out a big bowl, then sit down and enjoy the best comfort food on earth.

This is one of my favorite meals of all time.  I hope when I’m 90 years old I’m still able to get in the kitchen and make this.  I hope you give it a try and enjoy it as much as I do! 🙂

Until next time, happy cooking!

Flat (or Slick) Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tb vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:

Stir together all ingredients until a ball forms.  Stir in additional water, if necessary, one tablespoon at a time to get dough to come together. 

Turn out onto a floured surface, and roll out very thinly.  Using a pizza cutter or knife,  cut into strips.  Pinch off 1-2 inch length portions and drop into simmering broth.  Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

*This amount of dough will make enough dumplings for about 4 servings of chicken n dumplings.  If you’re feeding a large family I would suggest doubling the recipe.

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Filed under Chicken, Crockpot Meals

“Famous” Baked Beans

Hello everyone!  Today I want to share an easy, delicious crockpot baked bean recipe.  The recipe comes from this cookbook:

I’ve been making these beans for quite a few years, and they really are very good.  Now, I do have my favorite recipe for baked beans posted here, and if you’re looking for a great baked bean side dish I think those are perfect.  This recipe I would consider more of a main dish because it has ground beef in it.  I just make some cornbread or garlic bread and salads to go with and it’s a complete meal.

I know liquid smoke is an ingredient that many of you may not have in your pantry and while I often will just leave an ingredient out of a recipe if I don’t have it or substitute something else, in this case it is the one ingredient that absolutely makes this dish.  Whatever you do, don’t leave it out! 

Are we clear now on the importance of the liquid smoke?  Okay, good 🙂

Yum yumm!

Give these a try, I think you’ll really like them.  And until next time, happy cooking 🙂

“Famous” Baked Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 4 15-oz. cans baked beans
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tb liquid smoke
  • 1 Tb Worcestershire sauce

Directions:

Brown ground beef along with onions in skillet.  Drain off the fat then transfer to the crockpot.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours (or longer).

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Filed under Beans, Beef, Crockpot Meals

Spiced Cranberry Applesauce

I love making homemade applesauce (you can find my favorite recipe here).  It’s one of those things that’s so easy to make and tastes WAY better than anything you can buy at the store.  I just about always have a few jars stashed away in the freezer.  I especially love to serve it with quiches and breakfast casseroles, and it’s also great for when you need just a little something else still to go with dinner. 

 I recently had some apples in the fridge that needed using up and after coming across a recipe for cranberry applesauce, I decided to take elements from it to add to my standard applesauce and create something a little different.  It was a delicious variation!  And if you happened to stock up on clearance-priced cranberries over the holidays this would be a great recipe to use them in.  I had intended to buy some more myself but forgot, and truthfully, I still have a few bags from last year in my deep freeze!

One last thing to mention regarding the type of apples you use.  In my standard applesauce recipe I have posted, I have listed Granny Smith apples as the type called for simply because that’s what the cookbook the recipe is found uses.  I have always used McIntosh apples, though, as they’re my favorite, but feel free to use whatever is your favorite.  Also, I have not altered the amount of sugar called for, but since the cranberries will add more tartness to the applesauce, taste and add more sugar if it’s too tart for you.

 

Spiced Cranberry Applesauce

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 lbs Granny Smith apples, peeled & sliced
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tb lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Directions:

Add all ingredients to the crockpot.  Stir to get all the sugar and spices mixed in well.  Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours (depending on the firmness of your apples).  Using a potato masher, mash to the consistency you prefer.

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Filed under Crockpot Meals, Fruit, Side Dishes

Irish Beef Stew…and my Pantry Challenge!

I don’t do a lot of cooking with alcohol in my kitchen.  I’m far from being sophisticated enough to have numerous bottles of wine around for adding to various dishes.  I wouldn’t have a clue about what to buy!  But Guinness, now that’s another story.  I know exactly what to do with Guinness (well, besides drinking it!). Guinness was made to go in beef stew.  The two are, quite simply, a match made in stew heaven.   And if you didn’t tell, no one would ever know you had added it, it would just be that secret ingredient that they can’t quite put their finger on.  The rich depth of flavor that it adds can’t be beat.

A word of warning here-do NOT use Guinness extra stout (trust me, I speak from experience).  If that’s all you have, and I can’t be the only nutty person who loves that wonderful, super bitter black Irish goodness, then use just half the bottle and use water for the remaining liquid.

This week also begins my Pantry Challenge.  I’ve seen several of my favorite blogs implementing this in their kitchens recently, and it got me thinking about my own large stockpile of food in the deep freeze and pantry.  So I’ve decided to spend the next several weeks (at least-we’ll see how long I can go!) working my way through it and keeping my grocery bill to a minimum.  I’m usually pretty good about not going crazy at the grocery store anyway, but like all of us, I often stray from my grocery list and buy things that aren’t really necessary.

But I’m going to buckle down now and focus instead on what I’ve already got available at home!  I’ve started making a list of recipe ideas that utilize only ingredients I already have, and it’s becoming quite a long list.  It’s amazing how many meals you can come up with when you sit down and really start thinking about what you already have on hand!  And I’m going to be keeping an eye out on all of your blogs for more ideas! 🙂

Irish Beef Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb stew meat
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 large potatoes, cubed
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bottle Guinness stout
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Season stew meat with salt and pepper.  Brown in skillet on all sides.  Add to crockpot along with all remaining ingredients, except parsley, and cook on low for 8 hours.  Stir in parsley just before serving.

You can also cook this on the stove top, if you prefer.  But y’all know how I love my crockpots!

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Filed under Beef, Crockpot Meals, Soups/Stews

Crockpot Cookin’: Smothered Pork

It’s no secret that I love my crockpots, and if a recipe can be converted to cook in the crockpot, then that’s more than likely what I’m going to do.  So here’s how I make smothered pork in the crockpot.  It’s simple as can be, but full of flavor, and sooo tender.

I happened to be using the end portion of a whole pork loin, which wouldn’t have cut into chops very well, so I cubed it.  I actually prefer the meat that way, then you can just spoon everything over your rice or whatever you choose to serve it with.  You can also just use pork chops if you prefer.  It’ll all taste the same!

Make a nice big salad and some garlic bread to go with, and you’ve got a perfect wholesome meal with very little effort involved!

Crockpot Smothered Pork

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs pork chops or cubed pork
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 Tb brown sugar
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 Tb butter
  • 2 Tb cornstarch

Directions:

Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste.  Place in the crockpot along with the beef broth, brown sugar, and onion.  Stir to combine.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or so.

Stir in the butter.  Combine the cornstarch with a little cold water, and add to the crockpot.  Cover and cook on high for 15-20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened up enough to your liking.  Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles.

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Filed under Crockpot Meals, Pork

Mulled Cider

Here’s a delicious recipe for hot mulled cider.  It comes from my little old Crockery Cookery cookbook.  I threw the ingredients into the crockpot when we got up Christmas morning, gave it about an hour on high and it was ready!

We never really drank apple cider, hot or cold, in my family when I was growing up (maybe it’s not that popular in Florida?), though my mom did make wassail a couple times for our Christmas breakfast gatherings.  I’ve made wassail as well and I love it, but I forgot to get all the ingredients I needed to make it this year, and I had all the ingredients on hand for this mulled cider.

It doesn’t need to be limited to just Christmas either, a cup of hot mulled cider would be great to make any time the weather is cold out and you want something hot to sip on.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared any pictures with y’all of what things look like in my neck of the woods, so I thought I’d also post a few pictures I took when Jay and I went for a (very chilly!) walk in the evening after our Christmas dinner.

Mulled Cider

Ingredients:

  • 2 quarts apple cider
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 whole orange, sliced (unpeeled)

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in crockpot.  Cook on low for 2-3 hours or on high for 1 hour.  Can be left on low for as long as you need it to stay warm.

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Filed under Crockpot Meals, Drinks

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Before I get to today’s recipe, I first want to say thank you to all our veterans.  That goes for both Canada and the US, today is a holiday here too though we call it Remembrance Day.  Today is still a work day for me, albeit a shorter one, and I’ll be wearing a red poppy pin for remembrance.  Make sure you thank all the veterans you know on this special day 🙂

Here’s another really great recipe that comes from a recent issue of Simple & Delicious.  Jay and I both thought these sandwiches were delicious.  I loved that they were easy to make and also very economical.  I used pork shoulder steaks in place of the country-style ribs the recipe called for, and they were only $.99/lb which is about the cheapest I ever find meat around here. 

Besides that, I also changed the preparation a bit.  I cooked the meat and the sauce separately, then combined them at the end, rather than dumping everything into the crockpot at once.  That way I was able to drain the fat from the meat first because, really, who wants all that fat mixed in?

Speaking of the sauce, I thought it was really yummy!  Like many of you, I’m sure, the way I usually make pulled pork is just to mix the shredded pork with a bottle of barbecue sauce.  While this recipe is a little fancier with it’s homemade sauce, it only took a few minutes to whip together.  I think it would be great with other things too (like barbecue chicken pizza!).

Here’s how to make this:

Cut your shoulder steaks into chunks.  Season them up (I used my absolute favorite seasoning, Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning) then place them in the crockpot.  Cover and cook on low 7-8 hours.  Once the meat is done, shred it up, and here’s what you should have.

Now we need to make the sauce because that pork is feeling sad and lonely all by itself! 

Saute the onion until it’s softened.

Now stir in the remaining sauce ingredients and cook until heated thru.

Add the shredded meat and stir it all around.  Let it cook until it’s warmed through.

Slap some of that into a bun, and you’re good to go.  Not exactly stellar picture quality here, but you get the idea 🙂

Here’s the recipe:

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Homemade Barbecue Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup plum sauce
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 2 Tb brown sugar
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp allspice

Directions:

Season the pork well and place in slow cooker.  Cover, and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the pork is tender.  Allow to cool slightly, then shred. 

For the sauce, saute the onion in a skillet until softened.  Stir in remaining ingredients, and cook until heated through.  Add the shredded meat to the sauce, and cook until everything is heated.  Serve in buns.

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Filed under Crockpot Meals, Pork