Slow Cooker Chicken & Wild Rice Soup

This soup is like a hug. Comforting, warming, cozy. A brief note on my alterations is below the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup wild rice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup half and half*
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

DIRECTIONS:

Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Place chicken into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in chicken stock, wild rice, garlic, onion, carrots, celery, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Add mushrooms during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.

Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred, using two forks.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Whisk in milk and half and half, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir chicken and milk mixture into the slow cooker. If the soup is too thick, add more half and half as needed until desired consistency is reached.

Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Notes: My family doesn’t enjoy mushrooms whatsoever, so I omitted them. Some commenters noted a lack of flavor, and after a bit of research I figured the mushrooms add umami—and I needed to replace it. Beef broth, fish sauce, and soy sauce were all options, and as it turned out I only had soy sauce in the fridge. It worked wonderfully! I added enough to suit my tastebuds and the flavor was just right. As a final point, the soup does get mushier by the next day but that hasn’t bothered my family.

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Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

This recipe, from Damn Delicious (a wonderful resource), makes a great soup that, I think, is incredibly flexible. I’m posting the recipe as is–which is how I made it, uh, mostly–and will post my own recipe notes down below. If I make it again I absolutely will tweak it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled plum tomatoes with basil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

FOR THE PARMESAN CHEDDAR CROUTONS

  • 4 cups (1-inch) French bread cubes
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. To make the parmesan cheddar croutons, spread bread cubes in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet; sprinkle with cheeses. Place into oven and bake until crisp and golden, about 10-12 minutes, stirring halfway; set aside and let cool.
  3. Place tomatoes into a 6-qt slow cooker. Stir in tomato sauce, vegetable broth, garlic, onion, bell pepper, tomato paste, oregano, sugar, salt and pepper until well combined. Crush the tomatoes into chunks using the back of a spoon.
  4. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
  5. Puree with an immersion blender until desired consistency is reached. Stir in heavy cream and basil; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Serve immediately with parmesan cheddar croutons.
**Notes: I added a full pint of heavy cream to the recipe and appreciated that level of creaminess. Next time I will omit the red bell pepper as I think pepper overpowers tomato soups. You can monkey around with the spices just as you would with a canned tomato soup. It can handle more basil, oregano, maybe some onion powder and Italian spices. I also like adding parmesan cheese to my soup before serving. Final note: I didn’t think the croutons were worth the effort. I did use a wheat French bread, but overall the taste was pretty bland. If I were to make them again I’d look up crouton recipes and mess with something to make them more flavorful. However, my favorite thing to eat with tomato soup is grilled cheese. Always. Great soup, with a really lovely texture. If you’re going for flavor alone though, this doesn’t taste that different from canned soups.

Ultimate Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Searing the meat on the stovetop first was the winning step for this pot roast. I also liked that it didn’t call for any creamed soups but still had a lot of flavor. My one troublesome point with pot roasts continues to be finding a cut of meat with enough fat marbling the roast to be delicious at the end of the day without being too fatty. Oh well! The gravy here was helpful in that regard.

INGREDIENTS

4-5 pound chuck roast
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound carrots peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into large chunks
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons cold water
minced parsley optional, to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Season the chuck roast with the Kosher salt, pepper and thyme.

Heat pan on stovetop, then add the canola oil and when it ripples and is hot add in the roast and brown, deeply, for 4-5 minutes on each side.

In your slow cooker add the carrots, potatoes and garlic. Lay the beef on top, then add the beef broth and cover, cooking on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 hours.

In the last hour mix your cornstarch and water and add it to the slow cooker to thicken the sauce or you can take the food out when done cooking, and add the leftover liquid to a small saucepan with the cornstarch/water mixture and cook on high for just 2-3 minutes until the liquid is thickened into a gravy.

Pour the gravy over the meat and garnish with parsley if desired.

Hard Cider Braised Pork Roast

Tonight was the second time I’ve made a pork roast using this recipe. And while the recipe was quite good as written, this time we made a substitution that changed it enough (in a good way) that I think it deserves its own post. Since Jason doesn’t love beer, I swapped out the beer for hard cider (I used Woodchuck), and the result was, in my opinion, markedly more delicious, even though I really like the beer version too. (I also used regular paprika, since smoked paprika isn’t my favorite. I really don’t know if it makes a difference or not.)

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned salt
  • 3 pounds pork butt roast, cut into 3– to 4–inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 medium carrot, cut into big chunks
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 12-ounce bottles Woodchuck or other hard cider
  • 1 can (10.5 ounces) beef broth

Directions:

  1. Combine the brown sugar, paprika, black pepper, oregano, and seasoned salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Rub the dry spice mixture over the pork pieces until well coated and refrigerate 4–24 hours.
  3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Sear the meat on each side and add to a large slow cooker.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, mushrooms, hard cider, and beef broth to the slow cooker.
  5. Stir all of the ingredients and cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.

Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ

Easy and quick recipe for the cook who is feeding a crowd. And if you’re not feeding a crowd, then you’ll be able to feed your family the rest of the week. Sandwiches, salads, with corn on the cob—yum! From allrecipes.com.

  • 6 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Directions

  1. Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbecue sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.
  2. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.

Angel Chicken

This recipe comes from my friend Kasey. It’s creamy without being too rich. And it’s a slow cooker recipe — really good comfort food for a fall/winter eve.

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  •  1 (8-ounce) package fresh button mushrooms, quartered
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 (0.7-ounce) package Italian dry salad dressing mix
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed golden mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 4 ounces cream cheese spread with chives and onion
  • Hot cooked rice or angel hair pasta
Directions:
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add italian dressing mix, soup, wine, and cream cheese, and stir until all is melted and well combined.
  2. Place mushrooms in the bottom of slow cooker. Place chicken on top of mushrooms. Top with sauce.
  3. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

Chocolate Cobbler in the Slow Cooker

I found that this is a good recipe to let the kids help out with. I let each of the boys stir one of the bowls of dry ingredients while I melted the butter and boiled the water. Easy, easy, and so delicious. (FWIW, this recipe is very similar tastewise to this one.)

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons cocoa, divided
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Spray the inside of the slow cooker crock with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, 3 tablespoons cocoa, and 3/4 cup white sugar.
  3. Stir milk, melted butter, and vanilla into the flour mixture until smooth. Pour into the greased crock.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the white sugar (1/2 cup), brown sugar, and cocoa (4 tablespoons). Sprinkle over the top of the batter in the crock.
  5. Pour hot water over the top of ingredients in the slow cooker. Do not stir.
  6. Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 3–4 hours. Remove the lid and let stand for several minutes before serving. At first, it will be a bit too liquidy, but it should thicken up after several minutes.