Slow cooked “bolognese”

So technically this a crock pot meal, but does take a bit of preparation before hand. I put bolognese in quotes because while it is slow cooked like a bolognese, I omitted the cream which I’m pretty sure you need to make a true bolognese sauce (let’s see how many times I can say bolognese in this post!) and added a few spices that are more likely to be found in a marinara sauce.

To keep this a low calorie and low point meal,  you can serve over roasted spaghetti squash – I served it over some multi-colored pasta.

Slow cooked “bolognese” (5 servings, 5 p+/serving)

Ingredients:
1/4 lb. center cut bacon, chopped
2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium white onion, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
2 carrots, minced
1 lb 95% lean ground turkey
1/4 cup white wine
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. oregano (dried)
1 tsp. onion powder
2 bay leaves
salt and fresh pepper

Directions:
1. In a large saute pan, saute the bacon until the fat starts to render.
2. Add celery, carrot and onion. Cook until soft (about 4 minutes) over medium heat.
3. Increase the heat to medium high and add the meat. Season with salt and pepper, saute until brown.
4. Drain the fat, then add the wine. Cook 3-4 minutes.
5. Add meat mixture to crock pot along with tomatoes, a bit more salt and pepper and the bay leaves.
6. Cook on low for 6 hours.
7. Season with garlic powder, onion powder and oregano and cook 30 additional minutes.
8. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

It’s been freezing in Seattle the past few weeks (mostly days below 39) and something about the cold weather had me craving pot roast. I’d never actually made on in a slow cooker before, but decided that the ingredients can’t be much different than your standard pot roast as I usually put it in the oven for 3 or so hours in a dutch oven. I don’t make mine with a gravy, but it’s easy enough to make with the fatty pieces left in the liquid. (If you don’t have enough fat, just add some butter). Simply Recipes has a great recipe for gravy so check it out if you want some on your pot roast! And as a bonus, this makes great leftovers, especially if you enjoy a pot roast sandwich.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Ingredients:
3 lbs. chuck roast, brisket, top round, bottom round or rump roast (I usually opt for chuck)*
1/2 lb. boiling potatoes (such as yukon gold, or small red potatoes) quartered
3 carrots – cut into 1 inch long pieces
1 medium onion – sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup water
1 package dried onion soup mix
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
*if you can’t find it in 3lb. increments, just use two smaller roasts

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat
2. Generously salt and pepper the roast and add to pan, making sure to brown each side evenly
3. Add the roast to the crock pot, sprinkle with dried onion soup
4. Pour the water over the roast, set on low for 8-10 hours.
5. About half way through the cooking process, add the vegetables to the crock pot – stirring to make sure they are covered with the liquid. (If there is not enough liquid, add a bit more water or beef broth if you have it)
6. Remove the vegetables and beef from the crock pot, shred beef and serve with veggies

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Filling

This recipe is quick and requires few ingredients. It can be used as a taco or burrito filling or even over black beans and rice. This particular taco filling uses green salsa and jalapenos but you could use red salsa as well. It’s great for a quick weeknight meal that takes little time to prepare. If you have some extra time you can brown the meat before hand, it enhances the flavor.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Filling

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast
1 large bottle green salsa such as La Victoria salsa verde
1 pickled jalapeno (about 10 slices)
Salt
Pepper

Topping Ideas: cilantro, avocado, extra salsa, cheese, sour cream or hot sauce

Directions:
1. Cut the chicken breasts into a few smaller pieces. If you have time, brown the meat
2. Salt and pepper the chicken
3. Place the chicken and the jalapenos in the crock pot
4. Pour entire jar of salsa over the chicken and jalapenos
5. Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours stir once or twice if possible during the cooking time
6. Shred the chicken with a fork
7. Serve with corn tortillas for tacos or wrap in a flour tortilla with beans and rice

Slow Cooker Pork with Pickled Tomatillos and Jalapenos

Usually when you think of slow cooker recipes, you think of stews, soups or pot roasts. I would have never thought to make this Mexican inspired pork dish if it hadn’t been for the wonderful Rick Bayless. In his cookbook, Everyday Mexican. he actually has several recipes that utilize the slow cooker, I’ve never used mine the same way again, I was hooked!

The other thing that I love about this (and a lot of Rick’s recipes) is that it’s healthy. It uses the tomatillos natural juice as the base of the cooking sauce, and adds relatively little else. I made quite a few changes to Rick’s original recipe, but the idea is the same. This dish would be good for a burrito or soft taco filling, or just as is over rice. (I forgot to take pictures, so use your imagination?)

Slow Cooker Pork with Pickled Tomatillos and Jalapenos

Ingredients:
10-12 pickled tomatillos cut into small pieces (recipe here) OR 1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 pickled jalapeno (if using pickled tomatillos) 3-4 canned pickled jalapenos stemmed, halved and seeds scraped out (if you are using regular tomatillos)
1/2 loosely packed and roughly chopped cilantro (divided use)
1 1/2 – 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder or tenderloin
1 TBS. worcestershire sauce
1 can large white beans

Directions:
1. Spread the tomatillos into the bottom of your slow cooker evenly
2. Spread the garlic, jalapenos and half the cilantro on top of the tomatillos
3. Cut the pork into cubes and in a large bowl, mix the pork with the worcestershire sauce
4. Place the pork on top of the tomatillo mixture
5. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours. (Around hour 3 if you can, stir up the mixture)
6. Add the beans at the very end of the cooking time. Allow them about 15 minutes to warm through
7. Use the pork mixture as a filling for burritos or soft tacos, or simply spoon over rice and add the additional cilantro.