It’s not uncommon for me to dream of a meal the night after I’ve had it. What isn’t common is when I dream about a meal BEFORE I’ve even had it. I knew going in that this slow cooker jalapeno pot roast was going to be great. Of course, after a day in the slow cooker the meat was tender and easy to shred. And it has just the right amount of spicy kick to it. It’s definitely not a bland pot roast by any stretch of the imagination. I set out making slow cooker jalapeno pot roast for po boy sandwiches and that’s it. As soon as I came across the recipe I knew that that’s what I was going to do. And the sandwiches came out absolutely perfect. I could’ve served the pot roast over mashed potatoes or made an open-faced sandwich or even better, used it in tacos, but I wanted a sandwich with some cool toppings like tomato and onion and lettuce to contrast the spicy beef. Perfect!
I made a batch of tremendously good baked smothered chicken burritos the other day. The chicken was cooked slow all day, resulting in the perfect tender filling. I was still enjoying flashing back to those great burritos when I came across this idea for slow cooker cream cheese chicken taquitos. Just like the burritos, these taquitos are stuffed with fantastically tasty chicken that just falls apart as it cooks. The creamy chicken and melted smooth cheese needed a little kick in my opinion, so I topped the taquitos with diced jalapenos and spicy salsa. Then all was right in the world again!
Cold weather can sometimes make me ‘cooking lazy’. That’s when I just want to toss a few out-of-the-pantry and out-of-the-fridge ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on, and come back half a day later to a done dish. Doesn’t mean it has to be all out of a can, but it isn’t all from scratch either. And it’s still good. And spicy. Gotta have spicy and these bold ranch pork chops deliver on that. I served these pork chops with warmed leftover mashed potatoes. The gravy from the slow cooker is great over mashed potatoes, but I think it’d be even better over grits, so I’ll give that a whirl next time. They’ll be instant grits, though, to keep with my ‘cooking lazy’ mood.
It was not a great day for grilling. I’ve always said that grilling is a passion not a season, but 50 MPH winds and blowing rain can make me rethink that philosophy. I was still jonesin’ for a chili dog so I brought out the slow cooker and satisfied my need for a good dog on a bad weather day. The dogs end up tender and they even absorb some of the great chili flavors. Topped with cheese, onion and jalapeno they hit the spot.
Cooking chili hot dogs in the slow cooker is a really great way to feed a crowd with no fuss whatsoever. You can easily double or triple this recipe if your slow cooker is big enough, ideal for that big game party!
We spent a week in a condo on fabulous Tybee Island, Georgia not long ago. I wanted to maximize our time on the beach, which meant that I wanted meals that I could prepare with minimal effort and time. Slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs was the perfect choice. And it was mighty tasty too. Yummy meatballs in a flavorful sauce, with the spaghetti already mixed in. It really doesn’t get any easier. I always like a little kick in my spaghetti and meatballs, whether they’re from the slow cooker or not, so I added a bit of red pepper flakes. You can leave them out if you like.
I’m usually a crispy, grilled or fried chicken wing kind-of-guy. But I am open to other ideas, and I can’t pass up a tasty wing no matter what. So I went into the idea of cooking wings in my slow cooker with an open mind and empty stomach. What resulted were very tasty, very tender wings covered in a fantastic homemade Buffalo wing sauce. Cooking the wings in Buffalo sauce in the slow cooker before transferring them to the oven ensured that each and every bite was packed with that great traditional wing flavor. These wings aren’t just covered in sauce, there’s sauce all the way through. The sauce is what makes these slow cooker chicken wings great. It’s the perfect traditional Buffalo wing sauce. I make a big batch and keep it on hand. I like to fill a squirt bottle with wing sauce and squirt it on macaroni and cheese. Yep, try it. It’s good.
You can get a bit of a char and crisp on these wings if you put them under the broiler for a bit just before serving. Keep an eye on them, though. You don’t want to burn them.
I would’ve liked to have made this slow cooker tomato sauce using tomatoes from our garden. For some reason, our tomatoes just didn’t produce this year. Usually I have to worry about the raccoons stealing them but not this time. They just didn’t come out. So, Plan B, I picked up a big batch of ripe tomatoes at the grocery store. The end result came out very, very flavorful. Quite honestly, I had my sights set on using this sauce to make pizza sauce, but it’s so good by itself you could easily serve it as-is as tomato soup. I used Roma tomatoes because I like how they taste. You can substitute any good tomato, just make sure they’re good and ripe. Do not use those hard-as-cardboard tomatoes you often find at your grocery store. If you’re lucky enough to be near a farmer’s market, it’s well worth the trip. When tomatoes are at peak you’ll want to make several batches of this slow cooker tomato sauce and freeze it for later.
One of my favorite things to do in the summer (around July 4th here in Indiana) is to buy a lot of sweet corn and put it up for the winter. I do mean a lot of sweet corn. For the two of us that often means 100-150 ears at once. It’s a good day’s work, but well worth it later in the year, specially when I can use it to make great-tasting dishes like this slow cooker chili cheese corn. I really enjoy cooking corn in the slow cooker. The corn keeps it’s light crunch, and all of the sweetness. Add bit of roasted green chiles and cream cheese and you have a truly fantastic side dish. For a little more kick, use diced roasted jalapenos instead. Or for less kick, roast a poblano (or even green bell pepper) under your broiler until blackened, then remove the burnt skin, seeds and chop. No matter what you use, it’ll add a nice contrast to the sweetness and creaminess of the corn.