Friday, August 24, 2012

Tomato-Basil Parmesan Soup

2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tbsp. fresh oregano
1 tbsp. dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups of chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf
1/2 cup of flour1 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed or skim, 1% milk to make healthier
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil and bay leaf to slow cooker.  Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are tender.

About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux.  Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 2-3 minutes.  Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup.  Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth.  Add all back into the slow cooker.  Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed milk, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

*What's a roux?  A cooking mixture of flour and butter. It is the thickening agent of three of the mother sauces of classical French cooking.  It is used as a thickener for gravy, sauces, soups and stews.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ranch-Style Crock Pot Pork Chops

This is a tasty recipe for anyone on a budget.  Pork chops are generally inexpensive.  Instead of the same old barbecued pork chop recipes, why not mix it up with a creamy ranch sauce?

6 pork chops, about 1/2 inch thick pieces
1 packet of dry Ranch Dressing Seasoning
10 oz. can Cream of Chicken Soup

Place pork chops, Ranch seasoning and soup in crock pot.  Cook on high for about 4 hours or low for 6 hours. 

That's it!  Inexpensive, easy and oh so very yummy.  I pair mine with mashed red garlic potatoes and sweet corn.  

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crockpot Mac-N-Cheese

Cooking in the crockpot isn't just for the cool months! Summer time meal and paper plate clean up! 

Cooking Spray
2 cups of 1% or skim milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups preshredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Spray the pot of the slow cooker.  In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, evaporated milk, egg, salt and pepper. Pour milk mixture into the crockpot. Add cheese and uncooked macaroni. Stir gently to mix.  

Depending on how your slow cooker heats, this recipe on low could be done in 1.5 to 3 hours. Mine was done in 1.5 hours. The first time you make it, you'll want to keep an eye on it to determine the correct cooking time for your crockpot. Cook until the cheesy-custard is set and the macaroni is tender. Serve at once.