Posts Tagged ‘crockpot’

by Caitlin Saniga

Slow cooker kielbasa and sauerkraut with skin-on mashed potatoes

I love when I’m home and Mom puts on a CrockPot of kielbasa and kraut for dinner — it’s a Saniga family favorite. The longer it cooks, the better the taste, with both components swapping some of their signature flavors. And no plate of kielbasa and kraut is complete without a small mountain of mashed potatoes. No frills here, just a simple, beloved meal.


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by Caitlin Saniga

bacon jam

The first time I had this was at my friend Suzanne’s house. We made a day of decorating gingerbread cookies, and she brought out this strange-looking but divine-smelling dip, or so I thought. She wouldn’t tell me what it was until I loaded up a few crackers and tried it for myself. “Bacon jam,” she said, as I stood in awe with my mouth full. Perfect for crackers, bread or French toast or for handing out by the jar to your favorite people. Bacon jam.


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by Caitlin Saniga

Carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches

The recipe I was working from called this Carolina-style barbecue, which I find a bit deceiving. Is it possible for something to be called “barbecue” if it’s never touched a grill? I’m opting to call this pulled pork instead, but it’s darn delicious nonetheless. The apple cider vinegar and hot sauce give it a nice Southern twang, too. And the portion size makes this perfect for feeding a crowd.


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by Caitlin Saniga

Carne asada lettuce wraps with guacamole and red cabbage

There’s a little Mexican restaurant in downtown Roanoke called Alejandro’s that serves what the menu calls “Shorty Tacos” (Stay tuned. There may be a $6 Snack review of those delicious tacos yet!), which are tiny corn tortillas filled with chili-lime marinated steak, pico de gallo and guacamole. It’s one of mine and Eddie’s favorite dishes in Roanoke. So for his birthday, I decided to do a spin on our beloved shorty tacos by making them fresh at home — and turning them into lettuce wraps! I set out all of the ingredients in separate bowls, and we had so much fun trying different variations at the table. What a happy memory!

Carne asada:

  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice (from 3 or 4 small limes)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sweet onion cut into small chunks
  • 1 2-pound beef rump roast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Lettuce wraps:

  • 1 large head Bibb or Boston lettuce, leaves removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • chopped Roma tomatoes
  • shredded red cabbage
  • chopped cilantro
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • lime wedges, for garnish

In small bowl, beat lime juice, oil, vinegar, cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.

Place the chopped onion in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the beef over onion. Pour the lime juice mixture over the beef. Sprinkle the garlic over top.

Cover and cook on Low heat for 8 to 9 hours.

Using 2 forks, shred the beef. Stir well to mix the beef with the sauce.

Place all lettuce wrap ingredients on separate serving dishes so everyone can customize their wraps. Generally, though, place a small amount of beef in the center of a lettuce leaf. Add various toppings, roll the leaf around the toppings and eat.

Serves 8.

Carne asada recipe adapted from: Betty Crocker

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by Caitlin Saniga

I credit my mom for getting me into steel-cut oats. The last time I was home, she cooked up a batch for my brother’s first day of the school. She added honey and bananas to her batch. It cooked all night, and by the morning the house smelled wonderful! Some other topping ideas I had: peanut butter, chocolate chips and coconut flakes; dried cranberries, honey and toasted almonds; fresh blueberries and maple syrup. Get creative!

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • handful of dried cherries
  • handful of pecans, toasted or plain

Add the oats, water, milk and salt to a slow cooker. Stir gently to combine, and cover with the lid. Cook on low for 8 to 9 hours, preferably overnight.

To prepare the cinnamon sugar topping, mix the 2 ingredients together in a small bowl with a fork.

When the oatmeal’s done cooking, spoon it into bowls and top with cinnamon sugar, cherries and pecans.

Makes 4 servings.

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by Caitlin Saniga

This time of year, my family’s usually having some sort of get-together. Whether it’s my brother’s birthday, Fourth of July or visits from out-of-town relatives, we’ve got plenty of reasons to celebrate. And we tend to gather outside at a park or the picnic shelter down by the pond at my house. Slowly but surely, carloads of relatives show up, unloading a cooler of this or a glass Pyrex dish of that. This meatball recipe would be a hit at one of these events. Prepare the meatballs ahead of time, and bring them along to the party, keeping them warm in a plugged-in slow cooker. They’ll be gone before they have time to cool off anyway.

For the meatballs:

  • 3/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup panko

For sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks in juice, drained

Lining the baking sheet with parchment makes for easy cleanup.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To make the meatballs, use your hands to combine all of the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until just incorporated. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 20 minutes or until golden and cooked all the way through.

See what I mean?

In the meantime, combine the ketchup, syrup, soy sauce, tapioca, allspice and mustard in the bowl of a large slow cooker. Stir the mixture together. Carefully add the pineapple chunks and meatballs, coating them in the sauce.

Cover the slow cooker with a lid, and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Serve with toothpicks.

Makes about 24 meatballs.

Meatballs recipe adapted from: Alton Brown
Slow cooker recipe adapted from: Crock-Pot Cookbook

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by Caitlin Saniga

Don’t even bother trying to cut this turkey with a knife. By the time it had cooked and I tried to lift it out of the slow cooker, the meat I was holding on to was so moist and soft that it fell away from the bone. I ended up using my hands to dismantle the turkey and pull it into thick, meaty shreds.

  • 1 6-pound bone-in turkey breast
  • 1 (1-ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix

I served this turkey for a small Thanksgiving gathering, and it was perfect for the group. There were three of us, and this made enough for dinner and lots of leftovers.

Rinse the turkey breast and pat dry with paper towels. Cut off any excess skin, but leave the skin covering the breast. Rub onion soup mix all over the exterior the turkey and under the skin.

In the bowl of a slow cooker, pour just enough water to cover the base. Place the turkey in the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on High for 1 hour, then set to Low, and cook for 7 hours.

Save the liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker! Use it to moisten up the turkey when you reheat it later or use it to make gravy.

Recipe adapted from: AllRecipes.com

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by Caitlin Saniga

I used a medium-roast coffee, but if you want a bolder coffee flavor, use a dark-roast coffee for this brisket. And I served mine with rye bread. Yum.

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered, stem end left intact
  • 1 pound new potatoes (about 12)
  • 1 pound medium carrots, cut into 2 1/2-inch lengths
  • 2 1/2 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup brewed black coffee
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • country bread (optional)

In the bottom of a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, potatoes and carrots. Season the beef with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoons pepper and place on top of the vegetables.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, coffee, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar; pour over the beef and vegetables. Cover and cook on LOW until the beef and vegetables are tender, 7 to 8 hours.

Slice the beef across the grain and serve with the vegetables and sauce, sprinkled with parsley. Serve with the bread, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: Real Simple

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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