Slow Cooker Spicy Spaghetti and Meatball Soup

I have a slow cooker (er, crockpot) for the same reasons everyone else does. I on occasion like a great, easy meal that I can toss into the pot and not have to fuss with. A Dutch oven over low heats works just as well, specially if you need to brown something first. For this spicy spaghetti and meatball soup it doesn’t matter whether you go low-and-slow in the crockpot or Dutch oven, the end result is great. It’s like having Campbell’s SpaghettiOs™ but with much better, richer flavor, and a nice kick. And really big meatballs. Who didn’t want more meatballs in their SpaghettiOs™ when they were a kid? Well, problem solved!
Slow Cooker Spicy Spaghetti and Meatball SoupI used packaged frozen meatballs for this slow cooker spicy spaghetti meatball soup, but our homemade Italian meatballs (made on the stovetop or in the Char-Broil Big Easy) would be great too. Outstanding, even.

You can leave out the red pepper flake, but I think you’ll want to add at least a little. And don’t be shy with the basil either.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try out my homemade SpaghettiOs. They’re fun to make and even more fun to eat.

Slow Cooker Spicy Spaghetti and Meatball Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients except the pasta into a slow cooker. Add more basil or red pepper flake as desired.
  2. Cook on high for 8 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Set slow cooker to high and add the pasta. Cook for another 20 minutes.
  4. Serve with more Parmesan cheese as desired.

Fire-Eater Chicken Meatballs

I was looking for something a little different for an appetizer to serve for the Superbowl. I’ve done the beef and pork meatballs, and those are great, but I wanted something new. I thought, let’s try chicken and turkey meatballs instead. But let’s make sure they aren’t bland. These fire-eater chicken meatballs are definitely not bland. They are tender and tasty by themselves, but made even more perfect with a kicked-up dipping sauce that also has a bit of sweetness to it.
Fire-Eater Chicken Meatballs

I am definitely going to use the meatballs in other dishes. I’m already planning to make meatball sandwiches with them. A hoagie bun, a few fire-eater chicken meatballs, a little of the sauce and some melted habanero cheese and I’m happy! Or, serve them over pasta with a spicy Alfredo sauce (made spicy by adding it a bit of the sauce).

I used my fire-eater spice rub to give the meatballs and the sauce a great kick. You can substitute any spicy mix you like. Just don’t be shy with it.

Fire-Eater Chicken Meatballs
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 20 meatballs
 
Ingredients
For the meatballs
  • 2 pound ground chicken (you can also use 1 pound of ground chicken and 1 pound of ground turkey)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Fire-Eater rub
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
For the sauce
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I used Cholula)
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Fire-Eater rub
Instructions
For the meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Place the meatball ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  4. Form into balls. Depending on how you want to serve them, make smaller or bigger balls. The cook time is for balls that are golf ball-sized so you might want to adjust the cook time depending on how large you make yours.
  5. Place balls onto the baking sheets. Do not crowd them.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they reach 165 F internal temperature.
  7. Brush the meatballs with a bit of the sauce and return to the oven for 2-3 more minutes to 'set' the sauce.
  8. Serve with more sauce on the side for dipping if serving as appetizers.
For the sauce
  1. While the meatballs are cooking, place all of the sauce ingredients into a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to boil then reduce to a simmer, whisking often, until the sauce thickens.
  3. Remove from heat until ready to use.

 

Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken

Anita reminded me of this recipe the other day. It was a favorite of ours years ago, when we started our first blog, Crossroads Of America. I was just starting to learn how to cook. I am still learning every day. I have a lot left to learn. This recipe for slow cooker creamy Italian chicken was simple enough for me to not mess up, but still great tasting and looking. Over the years I’ve changed it up a bit, but that same great creamy texture and Italian flavor is still there.
Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken
The original recipe calls for using a packet of Italian salad dressing mix, which is perfectly fine. Since first making this dish I have come up with my own mix that I think has a bit more flavor. Making your own also lets you adjust the flavors to your tastes, such as adding more garlic salt or onion powder, or just more basil (I love basil).

Slow Cooker Creamy Italian Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Note: If you use thicken chicken breasts you may need more cooking time. Slice them thin or butterfly them for a quicker cooking time.
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied if desired. Or substitute 1 1/2 pounds fresh chicken tenders
  • 1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix (I used 2 tablespoons of our homemade mix)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, cubed, softened
  • 1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • Hot cooked pasta or rice
Instructions
  1. Place chicken into slow cooker set to low.
  2. Combine the dressing mix and water and pour over the chicken.
  3. Cover and cook for 3 hours.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add the mushrooms and sautee until just starting to soften. Remove and let cool slightly.
  6. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and canned soup. Whisk until smooth.
  7. Fold in the mushrooms and pour mixture over chicken.
  8. Cover and cook another hour or until chicken is done.

Snow Crab Legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Oh, how I dream back to the day that I cooked Alaskan King Crab legs on my Char-Broil Big Easy. Wow, that was great eatin’. I don’t ever need an excuse to chow down on some crab legs, so as I was wandering through the grocery store the other day and came upon a big ole package of Canadian wild-caught snow crab legs, I grabbed them.

The beauty of cooking crab legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy besides the fact that they taste fantastic is that they cook (well, warm up… they are already cooked) in absolutely no time at all, with no fuss at all. In no time you are devouring crab meat. Oh, and grab a bib if you’re as messy as I am when you eat crab legs.
Snow Crab Legs on the Char-Broil Big EasyYou can fit a few pounds of crab legs into the Big Easy. As long as you don’t cram them in the basket really tightly they’ll cook up just fine. I like to add a few lemon slices for squeezing over the cooked legs, and I make a little clarified butter for dipping.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Snow Crab Legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • Snow crab legs and claws, cooked (if frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge first)
  • Olive oil
  • Lemons, some juiced, some halved
  • Clarified butter, for serving, if desired
Instructions
  1. Fire up your Big Easy.
  2. Squeeze a little lemon juice into some olive oil and brush the legs and claws.
  3. Place legs and claws in the Big Easy basket along with the remaining lemons (halved first).
  4. Place basket in the Big Easy and cook for 6 minutes. Larger legs or more legs might take longer. I pulled a small leg out after 6 minutes for a quick test and found it to be perfect.
  5. Serve hot with the roasted lemons and clarified butter for dipping.

Three-Meat Spicy Chili

I’m pretty much in cold weather cooking mode this week. Time-to-hunker-down, it’s-brrrr-cold-outside cooking mode. Time to make three-meat spicy chili! Great meaty flavor, beans, and of course, a spicy kick. I know it’s not ‘traditional’ but I love Italian sausage in chili. Love it!
Three-Meat Spicy ChiliThis chili also is full of one of my other favorite flavors: chipotles in adobo. Chipotles add that great smokey flavor, and just enough heat that you’re going to notice it. The chili comes out rich and flavorful, absolutely perfect for a cool fall day. I make sure to make a big batch of three-meat spicy chili and freeze some of the extra in single-portion containers for easy lunches throughout the week.

Three-Meat Spicy Chili
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped, with some of the sauce
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 bottle Sam Adams beer
  • 1 16 ounce can dark kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 16 ounce can light kidney beans, rinsed, drained
Instructions
  1. Crumble the meats into a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat.
  2. Cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned. Drain any fat that accumulates, if desired.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high.
  4. Add the minced garlic, bell peppers, chipotles, onion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the peppers and onion have started to soften.
  5. Add the tomatoes and beer. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let simmer for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Add the beans and heat through, about 10 minutes.
  8. Serve.

 

Texas Sriracha Wings

Stubb’s recently came out with a line of marinades and what they call anytime sauces. Our local grocery store had them all on sale, so I grabbed two or three bottles of each and headed on home with thoughts of the many things I was going to use them in. First up? Wings of course, so I grabbed a bottle of Stubb’s Texas Sriracha anytime sauce and went to work.

I cooked up a batch of wings (that I had first dusted with my Fire-Eater rub) on my charcoal grill using the Vortex insert. I then tossed the wings with a generous pour of Texas Sriracha sauce and proceeded to absolutely devour them. My goodness me oh my, Stubb’s Texas Sriracha sauce is goooood! It’s like the Rooster sauce (er, Sriracha) we all love, but with fantastic southwestern spices and flavors thrown in. I could drink it straight out of the bottle.
Texas Sriracha WingsThe heat from the sauce isn’t overpowering. Great flavor and a bit of a kick. It’s what I’d call the perfect bottled sauce, and absolutely the best thing for wings (or grilled chicken, or steak for that matter). It makes for the perfect (kicked up) substitute for the ‘normal’ Sriracha sauce you already use.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Texas Sriracha Wings
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8 servings
 
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place the wings into a resealable bag or container.
  2. Add wing rub and the oil.
  3. Seal and shake well to coat.
  4. Let wings marinade for 1-3 hours.
  5. Cook wings as desired. Click here for our guide on cooking wings in a grill, smoker, deep fryer, oven, or a Char-Broil Big Easy.
  6. Transfer cooked wings to a bowl and drizzle with Texas Sriracha sauce.
  7. Toss gently to coat.
  8. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Nashville Hot Chicken

There’s good and then there’s great. Nothing beats Nashville hot chicken when it comes to great fried chicken. The best, light, crunchy coating that you can imagine. Tender, moist chicken. And of course, heat. Plenty of heat. I could make and eat Nashville hot chicken any day of the week.

Because I prefer chicken wings over say, split chicken breasts, I used wings for this dish. They were crazy good. No need for blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce, either. Just pick them up and get to eating.
Nashville Hot Chicken
I don’t recommend being too shy with the spicy coating that you brush on the chicken just before serving. It’s hot, trust me, but I didn’t find it to be so hot that I couldn’t stand it. But don’t get me wrong, your eyes will water. At the minimum.

You’ll find that the coating is so good you’ll want to use it for other things, like chicken nuggets or fingers.

Nashville Hot Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
For the dry brine
  • 3 pounds chicken cut into pieces (I used chicken wings, separated into flats and drumettes)
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
For the dip
  • 1 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Louisiana-style hot sauce
For the dredge
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
For frying
  • Vegetable oil
For the spicy coating
  • 1/2 cup hot frying oil
  • 1-3 tablespoons cayenne pepper (I used 2 and found the flavor to be perfect, and not too terribly hot)
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For serving
  • Dill pickle slices
  • White bread slices
Instructions
For the dry brine
  1. Season chicken and place into a baggie or resealable container.
  2. Seal and refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours.
For the dip
  1. Whisk together the milk, eggs and hot sauce in a pie pan or shallow bowl.
For the dredge
  1. Whisk together the flour and salt in a pie pan or shallow bowl.
For frying
  1. Heat a few inches of oil (enough to cover the chicken) in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 325 F.
  2. Working in batches, dredge the chicken in the flour. Shake off excess.
  3. Dip chicken into the milk mixture. Shake off the excess.
  4. Return the chicken to the flour and dredge again. Shake off excess.
  5. Transfer chicken to the hot oil and fry until done (165 F internal temperature), flipping occasionally, 10-15 minutes.
  6. Place on a rack to cool and rain. (I kept my chicken in a hot warming drawer while I finished cooking the rest of the chicken.)
For the spicy coating
  1. When you're done frying the chicken, ladle 1/3 cup of the hot oil into a small sauce pan and whisk in the spicy coating ingredients.
  2. Brush mixture over the chicken. The more you brush on, the hotter it'll be.
For serving
  1. Serve garnished with Dill pickle and white bread slices, if desired.

 

Slow Cooker Spicy Italian Beef Sandwiches

Anita and I definitely both agreed that these slow cooker spicy Italian beef sandwiches were absolutely fantastic. Besides tender, juicy beef, you get great Italian spice flavors, pepperoncini and Giardiniera, along with the kick of hot pepper and the pickling juice from the pepperoncini. All served on a sub bun with plenty of smokey provolone cheese. Every bite of this sandwich is perfect.
Slow Cooker Spicy Italian Beef Sandwiches
To really kick up your sandwiches use hot pepperoncini and Giardiniera, and substitute habanero jack cheese for the provolone. You’ll have the perfect game-time sandwich.

You may or may not need all of the peppers and Giardiniera I listed for the sandwich build. It all depends on how much you like on your sandwiches. Me, I like pepperoncini, and lots of it, on top. I only used the Giardiniera in the slow cooker and didn’t add any to the sandwich. To each his own!

Slow Cooker Spicy Italian Beef Sandwiches
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12 servings
 
Ingredients
For the Italian beef
  • 14 1/2 ounce can beef broth
  • 4 tablespoons my Italian Dressing Mix (or substitute 2 envelopes Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing mix)
  • 1 tablespoon dried red pepper flake
  • 12 ounce jar pepperoncini pepper slices, plus some of the liquid from the jar
  • 12 ounce jar Giardiniera, drained
  • 3 pound chuck roast, trimmed
For the sandwiches
  • Hoagie or steak sandwich buns
  • Provolone cheese, sliced
  • 12 ounce jar pepperoncini pepper slices, drained
  • 12 ounce jar Giardiniera, drained, lightly chopped
Instructions
For the Italian beef
  1. Add beef broth to slow cooker set to high.
  2. Stir in the dressing seasoning and red pepper.
  3. Add the peppers and Giardiniera.
  4. Add meat and cover.
  5. Cook on high for 6-8 hours or low for 10-11 hours until the meat can be shredded.
  6. Remove meat, shred, and return to the slow cooker and cook another hour.
For the sandwiches
  1. Open buns and add cheese slices. Make sure to cover the bread with the cheese - it'll help keep the buns from getting overly soggy.
  2. Add shredded meat. Top with pepperoncini and chopped Giardiniera as desired.